The chemicals or additives which are widely used in food processing serve different purposes.
They may be used ;
(a) to preserve the food,
(b) to make the food look more attractive,
(c) to improve the flavour of the food,
(d) to maintain the quality of the food,
(e) to increase nutrients in the food.
Here are some of commonly used additives in our food and their functions.
Prevents the growth of microorganisms and fungi, enable food to last longer.
Colorings are added to food to replace colors lost during preparation, or to make food look more
Antioxidants such as vitamin C act as preservatives by inhibiting the effects of oxygen on food, and
can be beneficial to health.
Flavors are additives that give food a particular taste or smell, and may be derived from natural
ingredients or created artificially.
Sweeteners are added to foods for flavoring. Sweeteners other than sugar are added to keep the food
energy (calories) low, or because they have beneficial effects for diabetes mellitus and tooth decay
Emulsifiers allow water and oils to remain mixed together in an emulsion, as in mayonnaise, ice
cream, and homogenized milk.
Stabilizers, thickeners and gelling agents, like agar or pectin (used in jam for example) give foods
a firmer texture. While they are not true emulsifiers, they help to stabilize emulsions.
Increase nutrients in the food.
(i)Bleach, removes the colour of the food so that it looks clean and fresh.