Food Additives

notes on food additives

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Preservatives...

  • Prevent microbial spoilage of food
  • Roughly 28 permitted preservatives
  • Serial numbers in the 200’s
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Antioxidants...

  • Prevent fats and oils from going rancid
  • 15 permitted, including ascorbic acid and vitamin A
  • Serial numbers in the 300’s
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Emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners and gelling a

  • Emulsifiers- make emulsions or creamy suspensions stable. They are also used in baked food to slow down staling.
  • Stabilizers-improve the stability of emulsions and prevent the separation of their components.
  • 60 permitted emulsifiers and stabilizers
  • They include: edible gums, alginic acid, cellulose derivatives and pectins
  • Used in a large variety of manufactured foods where ‘creaminess’ or ‘spreadability’ is required. E.g. salad cream, ice cream, instant desserts, cheese, fish and meat spreads, margarine, and low fat spreads.
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Food colours…

  • Dyes and pigments used in foods to make it more attractive or to replace colour lost in processing
  • 43 colours are permitted in the UK
  • Serial numbers range from 100 to 180
  • Many colours are of natural origin
  • They cannot be added to food for infants and babies
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Sweetening agents…

  • Intense sweeteners- a lot sweeter than sucrose, so used in low concentrations
  • Bulk sweeteners- roughly as sweet as sucrose, so used in roughly equal amounts
  • Permitted intense sweeteners
  • E950. Acesulfame potassium. Canned foods, soft drinks.
  • E951. Aspartame. Soft drinks, yoghurts, drink mixes.
  • E954. Saccharin. Soft drinks, cider, sweetening tablets.
  • E957. Thaumatin. Sweetening tablets and yoghurt.
  • E959. Neohesperidine. Soft drinks and vitamin pills.
  • E952. Cyclamic acid.
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