Generally, food additives are chemical or natural substances that are added to food in small quantities in the production process to increase the quality, color, taste, flavor, and shelf life of food. Food additives are classified into 11 major categories of acids, food colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, preservatives, moisturizers, stabilizers, emulsifiers, fillers, thickening agents, and anti-caking agents. All of these materials are coded and represented by the letter E. using each category of additives is defined based on the code of standards within a certain range.
Types of authorized food additives
The added materials to the main food as an additive are classified into 11 categories as follows:
Acids and antioxidants
Acids are classified into the category of additives and can be used as a preservative and antioxidant to increase the added value of food. The most important of these acids are citric acid and vitamin C.
Food colorings are used to improve and enhance the natural color of the product, identify the type of product, increase market value, and color the colorless foods such as jellies. These colors should be used within their authorized range to prevent allergies and health hazards.
Two types of artificial and natural flavors are used to improve the taste of food products. These include all types of essential oils of benzaldehyde (smell of cherries), ethyl butyrate (smell of pineapple), methyl anthranilate (smell of grapes), monosodium glutamate, etc.
Sweeteners are divided into natural and artificial. Natural sugars include sucrose, glucose, fructose and lactose, and artificial sweeteners include splenda, sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, potassium acesulfame, neotame, advantame, stlyiol glycoside, Luo Han Guo fruit extract, and more. Sweeteners are almost calorie-free with sweets several hundred times more natural sugar and are used in diet and anti-diabetic foods and so on. Artificial sweeteners are not metabolized by the human body because our bodies do not have the required enzymes to digest them.
Preservatives are chemicals to increase crop life and prevent the growth of microorganisms and food spoilage including nitrites (sodium nitrite), benzoates (sodium benzoate, benzoic acid), sulfites (sulfur dioxide, sodium metabisulfite), and sorbates (sodium sorbate and potassium sorbate).
There are substances such as glycerin, dietary fiber, hydrocolloids, sorbitol, lycazine, and isomalt that prevent food from drying out and prevent water from evaporating. Some polyols (1 and 2 propane DL, glycerol, mannitol, and sorbitol) have moisture absorption properties and are used to maintain moisture, soften the product, and prevent the crystallization of sugars in confectionery products.
These materials maintain a stronger texture and stability of the material. Pectin, agar, gelatin, gum Arabic, sodium citrate, and potassium citrate are among the stabilizers.
Two unmixed phases such as water and oil are mixed together and used in double-phase foods such as mayonnaise, ice cream, and so on. Monosodium phosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate, lecithin, diglycerides, and their derivatives are emulsifier.
These functional materials act like the emulsifiers and stabilizers and increase viscosity. These materials are derived from starches and proteins such as xanthan gum, adipic acid, gums, starch, dextrin and so on.
These materials increase the volume of food without changing the nutritional value, such as modified starch.
These materials prevent the formation of powdery substances such as milk powder, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), calcium phosphate in common salt, sodium salts, potassium, calcium, hexacyanoferrate, etc.
Why to use food additives in food industries?
It is essential to use food additives to increase the quality and especially the durability of products, and their usage cannot be called unnecessary and harmful. The presence of these substances increases the quality of the product and on the other hand prevents the growth of microbes and microorganisms. In the past, the distance between production and consumption of products was short, so there was no concern about maintaining their quality. Today, this supply chain has become larger and larger because of mass production and industrial food, high diversity and its consumption and marketing throughout the world. In addition, increasing the life of products, providing different tastes by creating different flavors, reducing waste, improving consistency, preventing clumping, and producing useful products by adding high nutritional value is an inevitable matter. Therefore, using additives in the food industry is inevitable.
Are dietary supplements harmful to the body?
Different results have been obtained. Some people have described the harmful properties of artificial sweeteners on oral health, brain health (eliminating the sense of taste and increasing cravings), and so on. However, there are many food additives that help to improve the production process with no side effects or sensitivity. Food additives are essential to produce some food products in production process and reaching the desired quality.
Food lord brand uses fresh and natural foods and does not use any additives in the process of drying and producing dried fruits, dried vegetables, and nuts. Therefore, these products are completely natural and harmless.