Why are additives and preservatives necessary in foods?
- They improve freshness by decreasing mold or bacterial growth.
- Preservatives prevents fats and oils from becoming rancid, and prevent freshly cut fruits such as bananas, peaches and apples, from turning brown.
- Some add to the nutritional value.
- Improve taste, color or texture.
What are some examples?
- Emulsifiers and stabilizers
- Thickeners and leavening agents
- Ingredients that control the pH of foods or that reduce fat or sugar content
- Xanthum gum
Which foods have color additives?
- Colas, sodas
- Kids cereals
- Ice creams
- Boxed cake and pudding mixes…and many more.
There are nine FDA certified color additives that are synthetically produced and are generally less expensive than naturally derived sources. To market a new food or color additive the manufacturer must petition the FDA for its approval to ensure its safety. When it is approved the FDA consults with the USDA to determine maximum amounts to be used and how it needs to be identified on the food label.
There are two groups of ingredients that were exempted from the FDA’s regulations. The first group includes examples such as sodium nitrite and potassium nitrite. The second group included salt, sugars, spices, vitamins and MSG. Compared to other countries, the FDA isn’t as strict with its additives as the European countries. For example, industrial additives such as silicone dioxide and silica, are used to thicken foods and condiments here in the US, but are banned in Europe.