When talking of food additives, people will start to get panicked. That is really not necessary,
because in fact, people can’t live without food additives.
Food additive is a necessity for modern food. If there is no food additive, the pre-packaged snacks and other foods in the market will easily turn bad. There will be no beautiful
birthday cake as well.
In fact, if food additives are used within a certain range, it is not harmful for human body.
Human has used food additives for over 5000 years. Nowadays, food additives are divided
into 23 categories according to its functions, including preservatives, thickeners, antioxidants,
sweeteners, flavors, fragrances, pigments and so on. There are also a number of processing
aids and nutritional supplements as well. The main role of food additives is reflected in two
aspects : one is to meet the needs of preservation process; the second is to satisfy our taste or
The most commonly used preservatives include sodium benzoate in soy sauce,
potassium sorbate in jams. The general thickeners such as pectin in yogurt and xanthan gum in
juice; the common antioxidants such as TBHQ in food oil; the common sweeteners such as
xylitol in chewing gum and aspartame in drinks; the commonly used pigments such as fermented
bean curd in the monascorubrin and caramel color in drinks.
In addition, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B2 are also food additives. There are some special food
additives, such as nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and activated carbon in processing agents.
Rational use of food additives is safe, but since most food additives are synthetic, there might also
be side effects for long-term consumption. Therefore, we should be careful in choosing food, pay attention to balanced diet
so as to avoid excessive intake of certain food additives because of dietary bias.