Food additives

 

Definition - Features - Roles

   

Food additives offer considerable advantages, because they guarantee greater safety and hygiene of food products, their better conservation and presentation, as well as greater availability of them in all seasons; But, on the other hand, they are also of concern to the consumer, because not all are harmless.

 

Today the use of food additives is strictly regulated and subject to constant security checks.

Definition. Currently, are defined food additives those substances which are added in small quantities to the foods, to maintain its freshness and prevent its alterations, or to enhance the sensory characteristics, or to modify the taste and texture, or to more than one of the listed reasons.

Saying "in small amounts", we wish to emphasize the fact that strictly necessary to provide the minimum dose necessary to achieve the desired effect, without any danger to the health of the consumer.

In fact, the International Committees SCF and JECFA - headed by the World Health Organization (WHO) - based on its consideration of all available toxicological data, including surveys on humans and in animal models, evaluate and set out in each food additive ADI, "acceptable daily intake", that is, the amount of food additive that can be taken daily in the daily diet, even for the whole lifetime without risk.

The values ​​of the DGA are periodically updated according to the progress of technological knowledge.

There is no official list of food additives.

The permitted food additives are classified into different categories depending on their function and each has a specific name and an identification number preceded by the letter "E", which indicates the approval by the European Union.

For example, the series of E100 is attributed to the dyes, the E200 to preservatives, antioxidants and the E300 to E400 emulsifiers, thickeners and gelling agents.

 

Types.

Here are some of food additives normally added to foods:

dyes

preservatives

antioxidants

Emulsifiers and thickeners

Other.

 

dyes

 Dyes (E100 series). Color is one of the main sensory characteristics and helps to ensure that a food is thoroughly accept or unwelcome. The dyes are used to add or restore color in a food, to enhance its visual appeal and meet the expectations of the consumer.

The industrial processing of peas and the preparation of jams, for example, may determine a loss of color that the dyes can be compensated. However, it remains unacceptable that these substances are used to mask or hide a poor quality.

preservatives

 Preservatives (E200 series), that limit, retard or arrest the growth of microorganisms (eg. Bacteria, yeast, mold) that are in food, preventing spoilage or toxicity. They are used, for example, in bakery products, wine, cheese, salted meats in, in fruit juices and margarine.

Here are some examples of preservative: sulphites (E220-228), to prevent discolouration of the dried fruits and vegetables, the growth of bacteria in wine and fermented foods, some snacks and baked goods; nitrates and nitrites of sodium and potassium, from E249 to E252, used as preservatives in processed meat, for example frankfurter in, and to maintain product safety by preventing the growth of bacteria that produce botulinum ..

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antioxidants

 Antioxidants (E300 series), such as vitamin C (in flour) and the 'citric acid E330 (to keep the color of the fruit and vegetables freshly cut), and many others.

Emulsifiers and thickeners

 Emulsifiers and thickeners (E400 series). The purpose of these food additives is to maintain a uniform consistency and prevent separation of ingredients in products such as margarine, ice cream, mayonnaise. Lecithin is one of the many emulsifiers. Thickeners (for example, gelatin or pectin) also increase the viscosity of food preparations.

other additives

 Other additives: saccharin (E954), aspartame (E951), 300 and 200 times sweeter than sugar, but with reduced caloric value (2.4 kcal / g.).

anti-caking agents (used to avoid the formation of lumps in powdered foods).

anti-foaming agents (which reduce foams, eg. in the cooking of hams).

Gas packaging (used for certain types of sealed packages, for example for the meat, fish, seafood, vegetables and prepared salads that are located in the refrigerated counter).

 

All foods treated with food additives must have on the packaging or on the tag (if sold in bulk) the sentence "containing E ..., E ...," followed by the names of the additives used and provided by the official nomenclature.

The standard larger on Food Additives is the D.M. February 27, 1996, n. 209 (the 209/96), "Regulation on the regulation of food additives allowed in the preparation and preservation of food substances" (in implementation of well-5 Community directives 94/34 / EC, 94/35 / EC, 94 / 36 / EC, 95/2 / EC, 95/31 / EC.), and updated by DM March 10, 2000, n. 183 (the 183/2000).

 All foods treated with food additives must have on the packaging or on the tag (if sold in bulk) the sentence "containing E ..., E ...," followed by the names of the additives used and provided by the official nomenclature.

The standard larger on Food Additives is the D.M. February 27, 1996, n. 209 (the 209/96), "Regulation on the regulation of food additives allowed in the preparation and preservation of food substances" (in implementation of well-5 Community directives 94/34 / EC, 94/35 / EC, 94 / 36 / EC, 95/2 / EC, 95/31 / EC.), and updated by DM March 10, 2000, n. 183 (the 183/2000).

 

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