May 03, 2010- Food additives imply refer to ingredients that are put into the food for a specific purpose like preserving, adding a flavor, color, aroma or essence. Each food additive might have more than one of these qualities. According the use of these additives they are categorized separately under various heads. Some of the popularly used and permitted food additives are food preservatives, food flavors, food dyes and colors, food aroma additives and essence additives.
According to the Codex Principles for the Use of Food additives, Schedule 5, a permitted food additive is the one that justifies the either of the below mentioned functions:
From the above points it is clear that the food additives and preservatives are controlled and curbed to maintain the qualitative limits in food. Let's now look at some popular permitted food additives that are commonly used in everyday foods.
Many forms of permitted food additive and preservatives are used to preserve different foods. The two main types of preservative additives are natural food preservatives and chemical food preservatives. Pickling of foods is a natural preservation method that uses vinegar as the preservative additive. Salt is again a natural food preservative. Amongst the chemical additive preservatives are sulfur dioxide, sodium benzonate, sodium sulphite, etc.
Food flavors are also among permitted food additives. They are basically used to add a special or enhancing the existing flavor of the food. Food flavors additives are generally put in health foods to enhance their tastes. Such drinks and foods at times are not good in taste and need special flavors. Some foods also use artificial sweeteners to dilute the not so good tasting foods. Summer health drinks and chocolates are some of examples of foods containing sweeteners and other food flavors.
Dyes food are also a part of our everyday meal. Both artificial and natural food colors are easily available in the markets and are used for bringing the desired color to the food. Some of the natural food coloring additives and food dyes are caramel coloring, chlorella algae, turmeric, saffron, paprika, betanin, etc. Apart from these natural food coloring dyes and chemical dyes food are usually children foods which are colored to look attractive and alluring.
Apart from the above discussed food additives, some of the other food additive variants that are used in a thousand of food productions are antioxidants, emulsifiers ,stabilizers, thickeners and gelling agents. Each of these serve specific functions as food additives falling under the purview of the listed situations where additives can be used, just like the briefly explained food additives.