What you always wanted to know about food additives
but had no one to ask
Food additives have been used by mankind for centuries. Salt, sugar and vinegar were among the first and used to preserve foods. In the past 30 years, however, with the advent of processed foods, there has been a massive explosion in the chemical adulteration of foods with additives. Considerable controversy has been associated with the potential threats and possible benefits of food additives.
There are lots of substances that are added to food for the various purposes such as coloring, flavouring, and preserving. Food Additives are usually added in very small quantities. In the food industry, chemicals are added to food to increase shelf life, boost nutritional value, enhance flavour, increase appearance and manage acidity and alkalinity.
Most food additives are cosidered safe. However, some are known to be allergens, carcinogenic or toxic. Hyperactivity in children, allergies, asthma, and migraines are often associated with adverse reations to food additives.
Since 1987 Australia has had an approved system of labelling for additives in packaged foods. Each food additive has to be named or numbered. The numbers are the same as in Europe, but without the prefix 'E'.E100-E181 - Food colors, Coloring Agents
E200-E290 - Preservatives
E296-E385 - Antioxidants & Mineral Salts
E400-E495 - Vegetable Gums, Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, etc
E620-E637 - Flavor Enhancers, MSG