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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Items benefiting from the relief: what is food?: food ingredients and additives: preservatives

There is a range of products, such as sulphur dioxide and sodium nitrite, which are added to commercially produced foods to prevent spoilage or contamination and to extend shelf life. Although they may be both necessary and desirable on health grounds, they contribute none of the essential characteristics of that product as a food and are therefore not considered food in their own right and they are all standard-rated. Similarly, cures, which are mixtures of salt, sodium nitrate and nitrite, used to convert pork into ham and bacon, are standard-rated.