Food additives and E numbers

Food additives are natural or artificial substances that may be added to food in small quantities to perform specific functions.

These include:

  1. To prevent food spoilage and maintain freshness

  2. To assist the processing or preparation of food

  3. To enhance the flavour or appearance of food

  4. To improve or maintain nutritional value

E numbers:

  • Food additive code

  • E indicates that it has been approved by the EU

  • Could be natural or artificial additive

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Food additives

Antioxidants- oxygen is a very reactive element

Acids- assist in the release of CO2 when added with a raising agent such as bicarbonate of soda

Examples = vinegar (E260), citric acid (E330)

Anti caking agents- prevents lumping of finely powdered or crystalline substances such as salt.

Emulsifiers- allows oil and water to mix

Sweeteners- sugars provide sweetness to foods. Artificial sweeteners are sometimes use as a low calorie option

Colours- natural and artificial colours can be used to enhance or replace colour that has been lost during food processing

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Preservation of Food

Specific point:

Methods of preservation and cooking may affect the nutritional content of food and cause adverse effects on health (4.8 NOS Point)

Methods of Preservation include: drying, salting, freezing, smoking, pickling, fermentation and using synthetic preservatives.

For Example: cooking and draining removes more nutrients than cooking:

Nutrients leave the food in the liquid

If the liquid is drained then the liquids are lost

But if the liquid is kept, the nutrients are still available

Harsh Conditions such as heat and acids can destroy nutrients

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