Citric acid is naturally concentrated in a variety of fruits and vegetables and is particularly concentrated in lemons and limes. Commonly used as a food additive as a natural flavoring and a preservative, citric acid is also used in cosmetics, for medical purposes, as an antioxidant and in cleaning products.
It is widely used in the food industry as an additive because of its low price and its ease of production. The acid is declared safe to consume by all major government food regulatory bodies. When added to food products or beverages, the acid provides a sharp, sour taste which increases appetite and enhances flavor. Certain companies use it to give their food products, such as sweets and soft drinks, an authentic “fruity” flavor. It is most prevalent in sour candies and gummy bears in the form of a fine white powder, also known as “sour salt”. Some people specifically add it to their food to alter taste. Besides its use as an additive, the citric acid is also commonly used as a natural food preservative. By increasing acidity, the low pH conditions produced prevent bacterial and fungal growth, therefore prolonging the life of the food or drink. It also helps preserve flavor and maintains pH at a suitable level to prevent food degradation, especially canned food. The acid is also heavily used in the preparation and production of Vitamin C as a flavoring