Classification Of Food Additives

Classification Of Food Additives, Health Effect

Introduction to Classification Of Food Additives

Food additives are defined as a substance or a mixture of substances added to food to gain a specific physical characteristic such as color, taste, smell and flavor, or chemical such as increasing concentration or acidity and Ph, or biological as preservatives to increase the shelf life in addition to anti-microbial agent to prevent growth of microorganisms  or to perform a specific function like anti foaming agent to prevent the appearance of foam also their are a wide classification of food additives .

History of food additives 

Food additives have been used for thousands of years, salt was probably used to preserve
meat and fish. The role of food additives has become more prominent in recent years, due in part
to the increased production of prepared, processed, and convenience foods

Some of these good local and global market foods are full of things that we should not eat because they have adverse effects on health for example, some dyes or artificial colors have a harmful effect on the body, especially on children. However, not all additives are bad.
Some people turn to organic, raw foods and other foods that are made without additives to be safer for their health.


Classification Of Food Additives
Classification Of Food Additives

classification of food additives

Food additives are a widespread circle, so there are more than 2,000 additives that are added to food to obtain desirable effects more ever additives can be divided to 6 major classification of food additives:

  • preservatives  are antimicrobial and antifungal to prevent the growth of microbes, fungi and microorganisms and prolong shelf life , anti-oxidant like vitamin C, E to prevent oxidation of products with oxygen as in fats to prevent rancidity and the emergence of any undesirable effects on them and anti-browning to prevent the interaction of oxygen with sugars or amino acids as in fruits to prevent the appearance of brown color

  • nutritional additives added to foods to restore the nutrients in food and enhancing the overall nutritional value of food for example addition of vitamins and minerals to food as vitamin D in milk and minerals as iron and some major nutrients like protein and fiber in addition to pectin

  • flavors their are 3 types:
  1. sweeteners like sugars (glucose- fructose- sucrose) also saccharin and aspartame 
  2. naturel and syncretic additives  their are more 1500 additives as flavors, a mixture of chemicals
  3. flavor enhancers used for modifying the flavor include mono sodium glutamate (MSg) to enhance the perception test.

  •  colors additives to restore the color in food and improve overall attractiveness of food such as sodium nitrite in meat

  • texturizing agent used for modify the over all texture of foods and include:
  1. Emulsifiers to improve emulsion between two substances as lecithin 
  2. stabilizers provide the desired texture and binding materials for bonding materials like pectin in jam in addition to prevent evaporation
  3. phosphate modify texture of food containing protein or starch by modifying water holding capacity 
  4. dough conditioners  such as sterols

  • miscellaneous additives are non-nutritive substances that integrate with food item to become a component. Miscellaneous food additives are ammonium sulphate

Some Adverse Health Effect of Excess Use Of Food Additives 

  • if the dose increased Cancers, as well as asthma in children due to the use of sodium benzoate
  • Phosphate helps reduce the absorption of calcium and iron in the human body, which leads to osteoporosis
  • Liver enlargement and may affect the nervous system, but its use within the permissible limits  considered safe and has no harm to human health due to the excessive use of preservatives.
  • Nitrates and Nitrites These preservatives  used in processing  meats and these substances used to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which produces highly toxic toxins.

Read more about food safety

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