- artificial colors
- artificial flavors
- To control food texture. Emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners can give food an even texture. They help keep ingredients and flavors blended in the product.
Some examples of these are lecithin, mono and diglycerides, guar gum and carrageenan. An example of a food they are found in is peanut butter. Emulsifiers help keep the peanuts and oil from separating.
- To improve nutritional value. When nutrients are added to foods to replace those that were lost during processing, the foods are said to be enriched.
Vitaminsand minerals, as well as fiber, are often added to enrich foods in this way. For example, many of the B vitamins are lost as whole-wheat flour is being refined into white flour, so they are added back in.
When nutrients are added that were never in the food, the foods are said to be fortified. For example,
vitamins Aand Dare added to milkto fortify it. This process of adding nutrients to foods has helped reduce malnutrition.
- To maintain freshness and safety. Some additives are called preservatives. These are used to prevent spoiling in foods that may be exposed to air, mold, and bacteria.
antioxidants, such as vitamin E, are added to fats and oils to prevent them from becoming rancid. They also are used in baked goods, cereals, processed foods, and salad dressing to prevent spoiling and discoloration.
Other examples are BHA and BHT. The US Food and Drug Administration, known as the FDA, has classed some food additives as "generally recognized as safe." This is also known as GRAS . BHA and BHT are classed GRAS.
Other preservatives include:
- citric acid
- calcium propionate
- sodium nitrate
A small percentage of the population is allergic to sulfites. The FDA requires that labels clearly show when packaged and processed foods contain more than 10 parts/million of sulfites.
- To help foods rise and to control the acid-base balance of food. Leavening agents cause baked goods, such as bread, to rise. Other additives, such as yeast and sodium bicarbonate, help control the acidity and alkalinity of foods, which affect the flavor, taste, and color.
- To improve flavor and color. Natural and artificial colors and flavors enhance the appearance and taste of certain foods. Common examples include:
- FD&C Red No. 40
- monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG
Duyff, R., MS, RD, CFCS. (1996). The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food&Nutrition Guide. Minnesota: Chronimed Publishing.
International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC). (1997). Food Allergy Myths and Realities. Food Insight, pp. 2-3.