Basic Concept of Food Additive

Basic Concept of Food Additive


Foods are one of the most essential parts of our life; I believe that whatever we are eating in the entire day, we should be aware of how pure our food is and if there is any additive in the food, we should know the side effects of that.

In today’s article, I am going to discuss “Food additives and their Various Types”

I had chosen this topic because I feel that if we have awareness about our food intake and their additive; we will have a wise choice to select “what to eat” and “what not to eat” which will contribute to our Fitness.

What is a Food Additive?

A food additive is a substance or a mixture of substance other than basic foodstuff, which is present in a food as a result of any aspect of Production, Processing, Storage or Packaging.

Functions of Food Additives

The food which otherwise goes to waste are generally saved by some preservatives to check the microbial development and quick oxidation, thus reducing food wastage.

Today traditional foods are replaced by fast foods and fabricated foods.; Fast foods are also called as junk food because it contains a lot of preservatives, colour and tastemaker chemicals.

Types of Food Additives

There are 3 main types of Food Additives:-

  • Direct or Intentional Food Additives
  • Indirect or Incidental
  • Due to Processing

Direct or Intentional Food Additives               

Chemicals that are intentionally added to food to improve the appearance, value, texture and flavour are direct food additives.

The intentional additives frequently-used can be classified depending on their nature, composition, and quality of preservation required; which are as follows:-


Microorganism containimate the food and oxidize them. The oxidation of food material makes the food unfit for human consumption. Food products start stinking if exposed to open air for a longer period of time. To check the oxidation of these food products chemical antioxidant is added in food products.

Example: – Citric Acid

Natural antioxidants are oil of Soyabean, rice, palm: Peanut, olive etc.


Some emulsifying agents are used to boost the desired emulsification. Widely used emulsifying agents are stearic acid, lecithin and brominated vegetable oils. The problems with these emulsifying agents are that: they dilute the product and do thicken food products.


These play an important role in food preservation- they are amylases, proteases, lipases, pectinases etc. These additives are cheap and harmless.

Colour and Preservatives:-

Colour and preservatives are added in a variety of edibles for eg. Ice cream, sweets, candy, biscuits, soft and alcoholic drinks etc.  – These are coloured for an attractive look which consequently increases the sale of food.

Only a limited no. of colours are approved for colouring the food. These are Erythrosine, ponceau 4R (Red), sunset yellow, indigo, carmine, fast green etc.

Flavouring :-

To improve the taste some flavouring agents are used.; these are Seasoners, enhancers, Potentiators and flavour integers- since long scents and aromatic oil are being extracted from leaves, flowers, fruits, barks and seeds of various aromatic plants.

Commonly used odorous plants are orange, lemon, grapes, rose, kewra, Khas, vanilla etc.

Raw spices are also added some time to increase the taste and aroma such as garlic, onion, ginger, clove, cardamom, saffron…etc.

Artificial sweeteners :-

Sugar is most commonly used natural sweetener, since natural sugars are costlier.

The industrialists use certain synthetic chemical sweeteners, such as saccharin.

 Irradiation :-

Food Irradiation uses radiation or high energy electron beams to preserve food. the radiation or electron passes into the food, killing harmful microbes. But in fruits and Vegetable irradiation slows ripening. The technique also alters the molecules of the food itself and can destroy vitamins and other nutrients.

Indirect or Incidental

A food may contain minute traces of a chemical as a result of contact with a substance during some phases of production, processing, storage or packing. These include residues of fertilizers, pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins that migrate.

Due to Processing

These results from processing conditions, metabolic reactions and unanticipated chemical combinations in food. This includes safrole and related compounds and contaminates as aflatoxins.

 Alright guys, Thank you so much for taking the time to read !! If you like this article, do share it with your friends and family and if you like to share your views on this with us….you are most welcome.


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