Food Additives Essay

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Food Additives can be beneficial or potentially harmful substances meant to enhance or preserve the foods we eat everyday. These additives allow our growing population to enjoy an ever expanding selection of safe, wholesome, and tasty foods. With tougher regulations and less adverse effects, these substances are becoming safer and more widespread. They make possible a multitude of convenience foods without the inconvenience of daily shopping. A food additive can be classified as anything used in or on but not commonly regarded or used as food. These additives can be used for many functions in foods that we often take for granted. Since most Americans no longer grow their own foods, food additives must be used to keep these items from spoiling en route to markets, sometimes thousands of miles away from where they are manufactured. There are five main reasons that food additives are used in foods; these include maintaining product consistency, to improve nutritional value, to maintain palatability and wholesomeness, to control acidity, and to enhance flavor or color. When reading an ingredient label many of these substances may seem foreign, but are actually quite familiar. For example, ascorbic acid is just another name for vitamin C; alphatocopherol is another name for vitamin E; and beta-carotene is a source of vitamin A. Food additives can also be broken down into three main groups based on their uses. Those three main groups are cosmetics, preservatives, and processing aids. Currently there are three thousand, seven hundred and ninety-four known additives. Of the total additives known, three thousand, six hundred and forty are purely used for cosmetic functions. Those functions include texture, consistency, color, and taste. Of the remaining additives, sixty-three are preservatives and ninety-one are used as processing aids. Preservatives are used to keep

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