Food additives are ingredients, which are added to the food to keep it fresh. Some additives are also used to enhance the color, flavor, and texture of the food. For example, preservatives like citric acid stop the microbes from multiplying and prevent the spoiling of food. The commonly use food additives for enhancing the food color are tartrazine and cochineal. MSG is the commonly used food additive to enhance the flavor of the food.
Food additives are chemicals, which can be harmful for the health of a person. An excessive consumption of foods containing additives can have a detrimental effect on the body over a period of time. Additionally, some people are sensitive to certain food additives. Hence, people are advised to avoid eating foods containing additives.
The food additives are usually listed on the label of the product along with the other ingredients. Some of the food additives occur naturally in the foods. For example, MSG is present in parmesan cheese, tomato and sardines in significantly higher quantities than the MSG artificially added to the food.
There are several other types of food additives such as anti-caking agents, which are used to prevent the ingredients from forming lumps and antioxidants, which are added to prevent the food from going rancid. Food acids help to maintain the right pH level of the food.
Artificial sweeteners are added to increase the sweetness while emulsifiers help to stop the fats from clotting. Sometimes, foaming agents are added to maintain the aeration in foods. Raising and bulking agents are used to increase the volume of food.