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Sodium Metabisulphite vs. Campden Tablets
If you are a producer in the food and beverage industry, you are well aware of the importance of working in a clean and sanitary environment to prevent the spoilage of your product. The spoilage of food and beverages is mainly due to contamination through harmful and unwanted micro-organisms.
Cleaning and sanitising are terms describing two very different processes. Cleaning is the process where dirt is removed, whereas sanitising is the process where microorganisms are eliminated by the use of specific chemicals. Your equipment should always be cleaned first and then sanitised before starting your production process.
There are multiple products that can be used as sanitising agents in the industry such as Iodophor, Sodium Metabisulphite, Campden Tablets, Star San, IO star, etc. Even though each of them differs chemically, the purpose remains the same – to kill off unwanted micro-organisms.
The popular products in the market are Sodium Metabisulphite and Campden tablets.
What is the difference?
Sodium Metabisulphite is a white powder, and it is typically used to stop fermentation, killing off any wild yeast and bacteria on the surfaces of fruit and to sterilise equipment. This product is food safe and is regularly added to food products. It should only be used in very low concentrations, adding too much will alter the taste and smell of your product and can be harmful when consumed.
Camden tablets are white tablets made of Sodium Metabisulphite or Potassium Metabisulphite with added fillers. One Campden tablet contributes 50 - 75 ppm of Sodium Metabisulphite depending on the supplier as well as the volume to which it is added (typically 5L / 3,8 L).
Which should I use?
They both serve the same purpose. Sodium Metabisulphite in its pure form is cheaper compared to Camden tablets, it does not require crushing and it dissolves faster.
313 mg Sodium Metabisulphite should be added to a 3,8 / 5L fermentation to give the same results as using one Campden tablet. Measuring out such a small amount of Sodium Metabisulphite will require a chemical scale to prevent over-addition. As Campden tablets come in a tablet form some may find it easier to use when working with small volumes.There are no right or wrong. It comes down to personal preference, ease of use and your budget.