Food additives
Food additives


Food additives are substances used with the purpose of preserving flavor or improving the taste of a product. These additives are further classified as dyes or coloring agents, antioxidants, emulsifiers or stabilizers, flavoring or taste enhancers, or preservatives.

In industrialized nations, there has been a significant increase in the number of preservatives and additives used in foods before they go to market in the last 50 years. Today, there are over 14,000 man-made preservatives and additives added to consumables. In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must recognize these additives as GRAS, Generally Recognized as Safe, before any such agent is added to food products. These are listed under both their Chemical Abstract Services number and under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

Many products sold in grocery stores contain additives and/or preservatives. However, there is a growing market demand for natural and organic products that include fewer or no additives. Also, there is a misconception that all processed foods contain food additives. Some processed foods, such as pasteurized milk, canned foods, and frozen foods may not require additives. Furthermore, some products may not include comprehensive lists of food additives on their packaging. For example, a product may include margarine on the ingredient list, but not list the food additives that are contained in margarine.

Detecting food additives requires the careful reading of food labels. Some examples of food additives include: sodium metabisulphite, stannous chloride (tin), monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial colorings, Ponceau 4R (Cochineal red a), saffron, benzoate, BHA & BHT, nitrite, nitrate, potassium nitrate, propyl p-hydroxybenozoate, propylparaben, paraben, sodium metabisulphite, sodium sulphite, sulphur dioxide, saccharin, aspartame, and potassium bromate.

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Dosing & administration

    Adverse effects

    General: The symptoms reported by individuals claiming to experience intolerance to food additives vary significantly. However, the most common symptoms generally include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, facial flushing, weakness, breathing problems, and changes in heart rate.

    Interactions with pharmaceuticals

    None known.

    Interactions with herbs & supplements

    None known.

    Interactions with foods

    None known.

    Interactions with lab tests

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    This monograph was last reviewed on 30/04/2015 17:46:06 and last updated on 27/04/2015 19:23:50. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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