Food Additives

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Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or improve its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin. Regulation and Categories of Food Additives

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates and approves all additives that are used in our food supply. The FDA breaks them into three categories. “Indirect Food Additives” include packaging materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard and glue that come into contact with food.iv “Direct Food Additives” include preservatives, nutritional supplements, flavors and texturizers that are added to food. “Color Additives” are used to alter or enhance the color of a food product.

The table below shows a list of food additive types:

Type of Food Additive Explanation
Acidity regulator any food additive used to control the pH
Anti-caking agent any substance added to another product to prevent it from forming lumps
Anti-foaming agent Any food additive added to prevent excessive effervescence
Food coloring
Color fixative
Color retention agent are a must to hold the existing natural color. They protect the food from losing its inherent color, & thus, sustain real essence. They are must especially since so many times the food tastes bland because of its loss of color. Coloring agents helps in fixing the natural tone forever even when cooked.
Emulsifier A substance that helps an emulsion form, or helps keep an emulsion from separating.
Firming agent any food additive added to react with pectin and give the food product a stronger structure
Flavor enhancer Any substance added to a food product to enhance its taste, especially to make it taste more savoury or to add umami
Flour treatment agent (also called improving agents) are food additives added to flour in order to improve its properties.
Food Acids are the only edible acids. The sharpness in the taste of any food is due to the presence of these acids. All fruits have these acids in some quantity and the result is that typical taste.
Gelling agent any substance added to a food product to provide the texture of a gel
Glazing agent Any food additive added to produce a shiny protective coating
Humectant any substance that promotes the retention of water, especially one used to keep a food product moist
Improving agent any substance added to flour in order to improve some aspect of its performance
Mineral salt
Preservative any agent, natural or artificial that acts to preserve, especially when added to food
Antioxidant any substance that acts to slow or prevent the oxidation of another chemical
Seasoning something used to add taste or flavour to food, such as a condiment, herb or spice
Sequestrant is to improve the quality and stability of the food products
Stabilizer Substances added to foods to prevent parts of the item separating.
Sweetener a food additive that sweetens, especially an artificial substitute for sugar
Artificial sweetener can help consumers cut down on calories and control weight
Thickener used to produce a thicker texture or consistency in foods
Vegetable gums are a valuable source of soluble dietary fibre and have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. Gums are used to thicken foods such as desserts, yogurts and flavoured milks.

Caffeine and other GRAS (generally recognized as safe) additives such as sugar and salt are not required to go through the regulation process. Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) is a United States of America Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designation that a chemical or substance added to food is considered safe by experts, and so is exempted from the usual Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) food additive tolerance requirements


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