Food AdditivesPublished on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 16:57
- Category: Controversial Ingredients
- Written by Megan
What are Food Additives?
Food additives are ingredients used for a variety of reasons, such as prolonging shelf life, enhancing flavor, texture and/or appearance, or increasing food safety. There are different categories of food additives, and one ingredient may fall into more than one category.
Preservatives: Ingredients that keep food from spoilage due to bacteria, fungus, mold, etc. They act as antioxidant to prevent rancidity and help maintain a foods texture, color and flavor. Examples include vitamin E, BHA, sodium benzoate, and sulfites.
Flavoring/Spices: Ingredients that add a specific flavor to a food. Examples include natural and artificial flavors. You can read more about flavorings here.
Flavor Enhancers: Ingredients that strengthen existing flavor in a food without imparting new flavor. Examples include MSG, hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeast extract.
Color Additives: Ingredients that enhance color of food product or replace color lost during processing. Examples include FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Yellow 5, grape skin extract, carmine. You can read more about food coloring here.
Sweeteners: Ingredients that add sweetness to foods without additional calories. Examples include apsartame, sacchrin, acesulfame K.
Emulsifiers: Ingredients that keeps two liquids which are typically immiscible (un-blendable, like oil and water) from separating. Examples include polysorbates, mono- and diglycerides, soy lecithin
Adapted from the FDA's website.
Commonly used controversial food additives:
- Acesulfame potassium/K
- Benzoic Acid
- Caramel color
- Colors (any)
- Disodium Gunaylate
- Disodium Inosinate
- Flavors – natural or artificial
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Monosodium Glutamate (also known as/related to: MSG, Monopotassium glutamate, hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extract [autolyzed or hydrolyzed])
- Polysorbate 60, 65, 80
- Potassium Benzoate
- Potassium bromate
- Propyl Gallate
- Sodium Benzoate
- Sodium bromate
- Sodium nitrate/nitrite