Natamycin has been used for more than 30 years to prolong the preservation of food products by eliminating the yeasts and moss and inhibiting mycotoxin development. Natamycin is effective against yeast and moss, but has no effect on bacteria. Several countries have approved its use in different foods.
The most widely accepted use is in the surface treatment of certain cheeses, on their skin. It is used in the following countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Paraguay, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Natamycin is used in more than 60 countries on the surface of specific processed meats: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, and United Kingdom.
Other applications are only allowed in certain countries. For instance, in China natamycin is applied to the surface of some baked products. China also allows its use in fruit juices, just like in South Africa. Natamycin’s application in fish products, wine, yoghurt and tinned food is only allowed in South Africa.
Continuous scientific advance brings forth new evidence for the agencies regulating the use of food additives, but the regulations and uses do suffer variations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States body which guarantees that food, food additives, medicines, health and cosmetic products are suitable for consumption, has authorised the use of natamycin in yoghurt.