Food additives and preservatives maintain the quality of foods as they move from farming or manufacturing methods to the market. Additives and preservatives used in food are labeled as colorants, flavorings, emulsifiers, nutrients and preservatives. The overall goals of food preservatives are to maintain freshness, appearance, color and nutritional value by keeping microorganisms, moisture or air away during packaging. Food additives and preservatives also maintain taste and improve flavor in most foods, and they control pH levels to reduce or block bacterial growth.
Salt and vinegar are common examples of food additives, used for centuries to prserve meat and pickled products. Other chemical food additives include sorbic acid and calcium propionate, which are added to baked goods, cheeses and salad dressings. Food preservative antioxidants like vitamins A and D, and riboflavin and niacin prevent flour, rice, milk and margarine from going rancid. Vanilla and sugar add flavors, while food dyes provide color. Some other examples of food preservatives include nitrites and nitrates in cured meats, and emulsifiers for thickening salad dressings and ice cream. When working with food preservatives and additives:
1. Research food additives and preservatives basics.
2. Find food preservative suppliers for your business.
3. Consider organic or natural food preservatives.
Research differences among food additives and preservatives in foodDetermine which colorings, sweeteners, nutrients or emulsifiers are necessary for your products. Learn which chemical food additives are considered safe and which ones may be harmful.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides information on food additives and preservatives ranging from basic facts to health benefits to warnings. Food Safety Center for Science in the Public Interest also provides information on the safety and health risks of some food preservatives and additives.
Look for food preservative suppliers to provide food grade chemical additives for your productsPicking the right additives and preservatives can enhance the quality of your distributed foods and prevent spoilage.
Stock organic or natural food preservativesNatural food preservatives come from vegetable sources such as beets, corn or soybeans. Beets produce powder to use as a food coloring, while soybean- and corn-based food additives produce lecithin that protects product consistency.
- Seeking FDA approval is one of the food additives and preservatives basics that food manufacturers must navigate. For new additive or preservative uses, scientific studies must be presented that show potential effects on animals or humans. The FDA also examines properties of the food additives to determine safety.