Food Additives & Preservatives

Preservatives: Preservative food additives can be used alone or in conjunction with other methods of food preservation. Preservatives may be anti-microbial preservatives, which inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi, or antioxidants such as oxygen absorbers, which inhibit the oxidation of food constituents. Common anti-microbial preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, sulfites (sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, potassium hydrogen sulfite, etc.) and disodium EDTA. Antioxidants include BHA and BHT. Other preservatives include formaldehyde (usually in solution), glutaraldehyde (kills insects), ethanol and methylchloroisothiazolinone. The benefits and safety of many artificial food additives (including preservatives) are the subject of debate among academics and regulators specializing in food science and toxicology. (source - wikipedia)

Food Additive: Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavour or improve its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin. (source - wikipedia)

Some additives are manufactured from natural sources such as soybeans and corn, which provide lecithin to maintain product consistency, or beets, which provide beet powder used as food coloring. Other additives are man-made. Artificial additives can be produced more economically, with greater purity and more consistent quality than some of their natural counterparts.

A substance added to a food for a specific purpose in that food is referred to as a direct additive. Many direct additives are identified on the ingredient label of foods.

Indirect food additives are those that become part of the food in trace amounts due to its packaging, storage or other handling. For instance, minute amounts of packaging substances may find their way into foods during storage. Food packaging manufacturers must prove to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that all materials coming in contact with food are safe, before they are permitted for use in such a manner.

Aluminium silicate - Mineral salt, anticaking agent used in medications and vending machine dried milk.

Amino acids Compounds - needed by the human body in a certain combination. Animal protein usually has the needed composition, but amino acids are also used to fortify vegetables.

Ammonium carbonates - Mineral salt, adjusting and modifying agent. Irritant to mucous membranes, alters pH of urine and may cause loss of calcium and magnesium. Used in some medications, baked goods, baking powder, cocoa items confectionary, ice cream.

Anti-caking agents - many foods tend to coagulate and specific agents are needed to prevent this. Many anti-caking agents are natural products such as talc (E533b) and bentonite (E558), and some are manufactured, such as silicon dioxide (E551) (chemically the same as sand but much purer), calcium silicate (E552) and sodium aluminosilicate (E554).

Antimicrobials - prevent the growth of molds, yeasts and bacteria.

Antioxidants - Keep foods from becoming rancid, browning, or developing black spots. Antioxidants also minimize the damage to some essential amino acids and the loss of some vitamins

Azo dyes - Azo dyes are members of a chemical group comprising the following colorants:
E 102 tartrazin, E 110 yellow-orange S, E 122 Azorubine, E 123 amaranth, E 124 cochineal red red A, E 151 brilliant black BN, E 180 Lithol rubine BK, E 128 red 2G, E 155 brown HT.

Bentonite - From natural clay. Decolouriser, filter medium, emulsifier and anti-caking agent. Used in pharmaceutical agents for external use, edible fats and oils, sugar, wine.

BHA & BHT -Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a phenolic antioxidant Phenolic antioxidants prevent rancidity of fats and oils in food by protecting against lipid oxidation.

B vitamins - Niacin, thiamin and riboflavin. Vitamins added to or used to enrich bread, flour and cereals to help combat nutritional deficiencies

Calcium hydroxide - Mineral salt made from lime as a firming and neutralising agent used in making beer, soap and glazing pretzels, infant formula as a mineral, cocoa products, sour cream, edible fats and oils, jam, tinned vegetables

Calcium Propionate - An inhibitor of molds and other microorganisms in foods, animal feed, tobacco, pharmaceuticals in butyl rubber to improve processability and Scorching resistance.

Colorings -make food visually more attractive

Copper sulphate - Mineral salt, anti-caking agent which is manufactured but occurs naturally and used for making azo dyes. Not to be taken on its own!

D & C - Prefix meaning that a dye is FDA-approved for drugs and cosmetics.

E 100 Turmeric - It is the natural color of the root of turmeric (Curcuma longa). It is the traditional ingredient of curry powder. It may be obtained by synthesis. Its color is yellow
Emulsifier - An additive used in the preparation and processing of foods, which is used to blend or mix ingredients together and also, to keep them from separating.

Erythorbates - Erythorbates are food ingredients that inhibit the change of flavor and color in food when exposed to air, such as when a cut apple is exposed to air.

Ext. D & C - Prefix signifying a dye that is FDA-approved for externally applied drugs and cosmetics only.

Ferrous gluconate - Color-retention agent (derived from iron and glucose) used in olives, iron supplements (use sparingly).

Food acids - They help maintain a constant sourness in food.

FD & C - Prefix for a dye that is FDA-approved for foods, drugs and cosmetics.

Flavor enhancers - enhance food palatability.

Glazing agents - They give a shiny appearance or provide a protective coating to a food.

Glucono delta-lactone - Food acid, artificial sweetener base, acidity regulator. Made from glucose. Stops 'stone' formation during manufacture with milk and beer.

Glycerine - Glycerine is an alcohol (glycerol) and is used as a preservative in the food industry, as well as a sweetener: it is very sweet, yet it contains no sugar. This makes it an ideal sweetener for patients who cannot take sugar, such as the increasing number of Candida sufferers.

Humectants - Used to prevent dried fruit from drying out.

Iodine - Added to salt to prevent a goiter, an iodine-deficiency condition.

Iron - Added to foods to help prevent anemia and other iron-deficiency diseases.

Lecithin - An emulsifier, or mixing agent, that helps fat and water stay together. Lecithin is present in egg yolks and milk; it aids mixing in mayonnaise and ice cream.

Magnesium chloride - Mineral salt, firming agent. Magnesium is an essential mineral. Used in foods and pharmaceuticals.

Magnesium oxide - Alkali, neutraliser and anti-caking agent. It can be found in frozen dairy products, butter, canned peas, cocoa products, medications. Used as a medical laxative.

Mono- and Dyglycerides - Emulsifiers present in bread, margarine and peanut butter.

MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- A flavor enhancer derived from beet sugar. MSG is manufactured through a process of protein hydrolysis. When a product is 99% pure MSG, the product is called "monosodium
glutamate" by the FDA and must be labeled as such. However, when a hydrolyzed protein contains less than 99% MSG, the FDA does not require that the MSG be identified. "Autolyzed yeast," "hydrolyzedsoy protein," and "sodium caseinate," are examples of names givento hydrolyzed proteins on food labels. MSG is found in most soups, salad dressings, and processed meats; in some crackers, bread, canned tuna fish, most frozen entrees, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. It is often used in "low fat" foods to make up for the flavor lost
when fat is reduced or eliminated.

Natamycin - Natamycin (it is also called pimaricin) is an antibiotic used in infections of mouth,foot and genitals.It is employed in food industry to treat the shell of cheese. Resistance against this antibiotic will soon be established in bacteria coming in contact with it.His use should therefore be forbidden in food industry

Nitrites . (1) Inhibit the growth of bacterial spores that cause botulism, a deadly food-borne illness.
(2) Are color enhancements of cured meat, poultry, and fish products. Nitrates react with secondary amines to form nitrosamines

Phenolic antioxidants - They prevent rancidity of fats and oils in food by protecting against lipid oxidation.

Potassium sorbate - the potassium salt of sorbic acid. It is much more soluble in water than the acid. Potassium sorbate will produce sorbic acid once it is dissolved in water and is the most widely used food preservative in the world. It is effective up to pH 6.5 but effectiveness increases as the pH decreases.

Potassium sulphates - Mineral salt, anti-caking agent for beer, pharmaceuticals, salt substitute. No known adverse effects, but large doses can cause severe gastrointestinal bleeding.

Propellants - gases which help propel food from a container.

Red #3 - Though FDA viewed Red No. 3 cancer risks as small--about 1 in 100,000 over a 70-year lifetime--the agency banned provisional listings because of Delaney directives. At the same time, Red No. 3 has "permanent" listings for food and drug uses that are still allowed although the agency has announced plans to propose revoking these uses as well. For now, Red No. 3 can be used in foods and oral medications. Products such as maraschino cherries, bubble gum, baked goods, and all sorts of snack foods and candy may contain Red No. 3.

Red #40 - FD and C Red #40: Allura Red AC. Newest color. Used widely in the cosmetics industry. Approved in 1971. Allied Chemical has an exclusive patent on it. It is substituted for FD and C Red #4 in many cosmetics, food and drug products. Permanently listed because like the producers of "temporary" colors, this producer supplied reproductive data. However, many American scientists feel that the safety of Red # 40 is far from established, particularly because all of the tests were conducted by the manufacturer. Therefore, the dye should not have receive a permanent safety rating. The National Cancer institute reported that p-credine, a chemical used in preparation of Red #40, was carcinogenic in animals. The FDA permanently listed Red #40 for use in foods and ingested drugs but only temporarily listed it for cosmetics and externally applied drugs. See also Azo Dyes and FD and C colors.

Sorbitol - A polyol (sugar alcohol), bulk sweetener found in numerous food products. In addition to providing sweetness, it is an excellent humectant and texturizing agent.

Sodium Benzoate and Benzoic Acid - These two compounds are related because sodium benzote produces benzoic acid once it is dissolved in water. Benzoic acid is the compound with the antimicrobial properties, and is found naturally in cranberries, prunes, greengage plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves and apples.

Sodium carbonates - Mineral salt, adjusting and modifying agent in the process of malting beer, baking soft and fizzy drinks, medications. No known adverse effects in small quantities.

Sorbates - This family of compounds is available as sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, sodium sorbate or calcium sorbate. Sorbic acid is the compound with the antimicrobial properties but its salts (sorbates) are used in many cases due to differences in solubility.

Stabilizers - They maintain the uniform dispersion of substances in a food.

Sulfites - Sulfites are used as antioxidants to prevent discoloration of light-colored fruits and vegetables, such as dried apples and dehydrated potatoes. They are also used in wine-making because they inhibit bacterial growth but do not interfere with the desired development of yeast.

Stearic acid - Saturated fatty acid, possibly of pig origin, cascarilla bark extract or vegetable fats. Anti-caking agent in chewing gum, confectionary, butter or vanilla flavouring for drinks, artificial sweeteners.

Talc - Linked to stomach cancer, typical products are polished rice, chocolate, confectionary, icing sugar, noodles, medicinal tablets

Thickeners and vegetable gums - They help improve texture and maintain uniform consistency.

Vitamin D - Commonly added to milk, to prevent the childhood bone disease known as rickets, which is caused by a vitamin D deficiency. An excess of vitamin D causes abnormally high blood concentrations of calcium which can eventually cause severe damage to the bones, soft tissues, and kidneys. It is almost always associated with forms of vitamin D requiring a doctor's prescription.

Yellow #5 . This dye is used to add color to a large number of items, such as wool, silk, sheepskins, furs, the plastic used in some cloth and containers (nylon, polyesters, and poly methyl-methacrylate), foods, personal products (soap, deodorants, cosmetics) and drugs. One reason people use it so much is that it dissolves easily in water.