A Food additive is any substance that is not naturally present in a food product but added intentionally or unintentionally during the preparation process. Food additives play various roles in the final product such as – decreasing the risk of contamination, enhancing appearance, improving flavor, increasing the shelf life, easing the cooking process, maintain or improve nutrition quality.
Additives are used in foods for five main reasons:
- To provide leavening or control acidity/alkalinity.
- To enhance flavor or impart the desired color.
- To maintain product consistency.
- To maintain palatability and wholesomeness.
- To improve or maintain nutritional value.
Guidelines for the permissible concentration of food additives have been set in many countries by their respective concerned food departments. The use of additives is prohibited by law in infant food products if used to cover defects or spoilage or to make food attractive at a cost of its safety.
Food additives have been majorly classified as following:
As the name suggests, preservatives are used to increase the shelf life of food products by reducing the risk of microbial growth. This is achieved by reducing water activity or the pH in food.
Few examples of preservatives used presently are:
- Sodium Nitrate plays a role of curing salt and helps in color retention. It is used in many processed types of meat along with common salt.
- Propionic acid has anti-fungal properties and is used in baking and dairy products as well as pizzas and processed cheese.
- Nisin has antibacterial properties and is used in cheese.Sorbic acid inhibits the growth of yeasts and molds. It is used in yogurt sweets, soft drinks, frozen pizzas etc.
- Sorbic acid inhibits the growth of yeasts and molds. It is used in yogurt sweets, soft drinks, frozen pizzas etc.
A Color additive
A color additive is any dye, pigment or any substance that can impart color when added or applied to a food, drug, and cosmetic or to the human body.
Dyes dissolve in water and are manufactured as powders, liquids or other special forms. They are used in confectionaries, dairy products, pet foods and others.
Lakes are water-insoluble color imparting substance ideal for coloring products containing fats and oils, for example in cakes, hard candies etc.
Proofread and Edited By Samara Vivian