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What Are Food Additives?

07/27/2015 adminCategory: Knowledge of Food AdditivesPage Views: 2222

Nowadays, food is not just consumed to satisfy hunger after a long time’s development. As the human civilization progressed, food consumption styles also experienced a significant change. Some of the major developments that have taken place on food are: new ways of cooking food, civilized ways of consuming food, sophisticated presentation of food, ways of preserving the food’s nutrient, better tastes of food and more appealing look of food.


What are food additives?

The term food additive is a generic term for a wide variety of substances which are not usually foods in themselves. Food additives, in the widest sense, are any substance added to food to enhance the safety, nutritional value, and/or appeal of the product.


What do food additives do?

Food additives preserve, flavor, blend, thicken, and color foods. They can keep bread mould-free, stop salad dressings from separating, cure meats, and give margarine that warm yellow color. With the use of food additives, the consistency and quality is maintained and the nutritional deficiencies are reduced. The primary reasons for using food additives are to maintain consistency, texture, nutritional quality, palatability and wholesomeness, provide leavening, control acidity, and enhance flavor and color. If we still grow all food needed, preserve it ourselves, prepare everything from scratch and are willing to accept increased risks of food spoilage, we are able to not use food additives. However, most of us have come to rely on the many benefits provided by food additives, particularly convenience.

Food additives play an important and necessary role in making our food supply one of the safest, most wholesome, affordable and abundant in the world. Consumer demand and development in food science and technology have led to a more widespread and varied use of food additives. As a result, we are able to enjoy a high quality, affordable and wholesome food supply.


Is food additive safe or toxic?

When you search online for terms like “is food additive safe?” or “what is food additive?”. The results turn out to be annoying; there are many misunderstandings out there about the safety of food additives. Why is it that in many people’s minds all food additives are harmful chemicals with nasty E-numbers? And why is it that the roles of food additives have been so badly misunderstood?

The use of food additives can be sourced back to several centuries ago. The overall aims of traditional home cooking and the foods prepared and preserved using food manufacturing methods remain the same, only today our food additives are supplied by much fewer amount of people. Since the change in labeling requirements in the 1980s, which required the food additives be declared in the ingredient list, the negative sound towards food additives began to rise. Until that time, food additives were declared using general groupings that reflected their functions in the food, such as antioxidants, colors, preservatives, etc. The lengthy lists of chemical names and a new E-numbering system came up with the new regulations which means they had been passed as safe for use in the European Community.

Today, food additives are strictly regulated and are subject to regular safety reviews. Permitted food additives are divided into several groups according to their functions. Each one of the food additives has a specific name and number, and most have the prefix E- for Europe. Some commonly used groups of food additives are E100 series for colors, E200 series for preservatives, E300 series for antioxidants and E400 series for emulsifiers, thickeners and gelling agents. As with many food issues, it is important to keep a sense of perspective and to ensure that any information concerning food additives is accurate and up to date. Please do not treat food additives as toxics and try to find out what are food additives indeed. Hopefully this sheds some light on the various food additives and their roles in the processing of your food.


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