October 8, 2018

Basic concept of food additives

Food additives are not a new invention. Since early times, there has been a need to preserve food from one harvest to another and to improve the presentation and nutritional value of food. Additives such as salt, spices, and sulfites have been used since ancient times to preserve foods and make them more palatable.

Why adding food additives?
*Food production separated from areas of population concentration –preservatives
*Added for functional properties –color, flavor, texture, nutritional supplements etc
*Convenience foods –foods whose preparation labor removed from household to processor or manufacturer. eg flour, can of beans or soups, cake mix, githeri, chapos, pizzas, etc

Technological advances in food processing have increased the variety and use of these additives. Today, more than 2500different additives are intentionally added to foods to produce a desired effect.

When the food is to be stored for a prolonged period, use of additives and preservatives is essential in order to maintain its quality and flavor. The excess water in the foods can cause the growth of bacteria, fungi and yeasts. Use of additives and preservatives prevents spoiling of the foods due to the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Many modern products, such as low-calorie, snack, and ready-to-eat convenience foods, would not be possible without food additives. Food additives and their metabolites are subjected to rigorous toxicological analysis prior to their approval for use in the industry.

Some of the commonly used food additives and preservatives are aluminum silicate, amino acid compounds, ammonium carbonates, sodium nitrate, propyl gallate, butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), monosodium glutamate, white sugar, potassium bromate, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, etc.
Basic concept of food additives

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