Changing environmental conditions to which intermediate moisture foods (IMF's) are exposed during production, storage, distribution and use, are important microbial stability factors. Temperature changes result in local surface condensations leading to microbial outgrowth on the surface. An approach to improved surface stability using a high preservative surface concentration maintained by an impermeable edible food coating was developed. Permeability tests predicted that zein was an acceptable coating. Sorbic acid distribution experiments confirmed its barrier properties. Apparent diffusion coefficient was estimated between 3 and 7 × 10−9 cm2/s. These values were 150–300 times smaller than the value measured in the bulk of the IMF model food system used in this study, 10−6 cm2/s.