Research – Food additives – Protection against microorganisms, extension to shelf life
Food additives have been used in food preparations from prehistoric times to perform various functions. Processing of food into variety of products involves use of various food ingredients called as additives. Technological developments in food processing have greatly encouraged the use of these additives but most of these additives and colourants are synthetic in nature.
Food additives are used to provide protection against microorganisms, increase quality and extend shelf life in many stages, from production to consumption of food (Branen et al. 2001). The use of these additives is a well-acquired practice but may be associated with certain risks. Used judiciously, food additives promote food safety, maintain nutritional quality and improve the texture, taste and appearance of foods.
Every food additive has been allotted a unique number in the International Numbering System (INS), adopted and extended by the Codex Alimentarius used to uniquely identify a food additive in legislation and for labelling purposes. Number ranges have been pre-assigned to food additive classifications, so as to give information about the main purpose of the additive, even without knowing the name of the additive (Tomaska & Taylor 2014).