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Food additives are substances required in the manufacturing process of food, to preserve it, and/or enhance the taste and appearance of the food. Most have little or no nutritional value and include substances such as preservatives, coloring agents, flavoring agents, and anti-infective agents.
Preservatives: Inhibits the growth of fungi, bacteria, and germs.
Aids to maintain the flavor of the food and the integrity of the fats and oils.
Slows spoiling of the product after exposure to air.
Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Nitrite, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, and Ammonium Sulfate are just some of the preservatives found in food products.
Artificial sweeteners include Saccharin, Acesulfame, Aspartame, and Sucralose.
Acids such as Vinegar, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Malic Acid, Fumaric Acid, and Lactic Acid. If taken in large quantities, these may cause cancer.
Acidity Regulators, Anticaking Agents like Sodium Aluminosilicate, Antifoaming Agents,
Bulking Agents like Starch, Antioxidants (often in the form of Vitamin C).
Food Colouring, Colour Retention Agents, Emulsifiers, Flavours, Flavour Enhancers, Flour Treatment Agents, Glazing Agents, Humectants, Tracer Gas, Stabilizers, and Thickeners
Numerous additives such as Agene, Cinnamyl Anthranilate, Cobalt Salts, and Diethyl Pyrocarbonate, have been banned globally, as they cause life-threatening diseases. It is imperative that food be analysed for the presence of these additives to ensure that society is not inadvertently exposed and lives placed at risk.
Food additives are many and varied. When and how they are used will depend on the product and the required result. Harmful food additives such as Aspartame, Sodium Nitrate, Caffeine, and Food Dyes must be used with the utmost caution and always within safe parameters. Exceeding the permitted limits could harm consumers.
Artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame are toxic to the human body.
Excessive consumption of Trans Fats could lead to heart disease.
Food Colouring can lead to behavioral problems in children.
The regulatory bodies have therefore defined clear limits and safe parameters relating to the use of all food additives. Food products must be tested periodically by accredited laboratories to ensure compliance and safety.