This application claims priority to European Patent Application No.
Food additives are chemicals that keep foods fresh or enhance their colour, flavour or texture. A small percentage of people are sensitive to some food additives.
Diagnosing sensitivity to food additives needs professional help, since all of the symptoms of sensitivity can also be caused by other disorders. Food additives are chemicals added to foods to keep them fresh or to enhance their colour, flavour or texture. They may include food colourings such as tartrazine or cochinealflavour enhancers such as MSG or a range of preservatives.
Most food additives are listed on the product label, along with other ingredients, in a descending order by weight flavours are an exception and do not need to be identified.
Sometimes, the additive is spelt out in full. At other times, it is represented by a code number: All food additives used in Australia undergo a safety assessment, which includes rigorous testing, before they are approved.
Toxicological tests on animals are used to determine the amount of the additive that is expected to be safe when consumed by humans. If there is any doubt over the safety of an additive, approval is not given. If new scientific information becomes available suggesting that a food additive is no longer safe, the approval to use the food additive would be withdrawn.
Most food additives are tested in isolation, rather than in combination with other additives. The long-term effects of consuming a combination of different additives are currently unknown.
Effects of food additives Some people are sensitive to particular food additives and may have reactions like hives or diarrhoea. Many of the food additives used by the food industry also occur naturally within foods that people eat every day. For example, MSG is found naturally in parmesan cheese, sardines and tomato in significantly greater quantities than the MSG present as a food additive.
People with food allergies and intolerances are also often sensitive to chemicals found naturally in certain foods, such as nuts or shellfish. Many people view food additives as a major food threat.
However, in terms of health risk, food additives would come in at the end of the line, after food-borne microorganisms like salmonellainappropriate hygiene and eating habits, environmental contaminants and naturally occurring toxins.
Types of food additives The different types of food additive and their uses include: Anti-caking agents — stop ingredients from becoming lumpy. Antioxidants — prevent foods from oxidising, or going rancid.
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