All about food additives

WHAT IS A FOOD ADDITIVE?

Food additives are substances added to foodstuffs to perform some technological functions, for example to colour, sweeten or help preserve foods.
In the European Union all food additives are identified by an E number. They are always included in the ingredients lists of foods in which they are used. Product labels must identify both the function of the additive in the finished food product (e.g. colour, preservative) and the specific substance used either by referring to the E number or its name (e.g. E300 or Ascorbic acid).

WHICH SUBSTANCES ARE AUTHORISED AND HOW?

Food additives can be used in foods and are authorised for human consumption if they do not pose a risk to the consumer at the applied level of use.
Under EU legislation, the authorisation procedure starts with submission of a formal request to the European commission consisting of an application dossier on the substance, containing scientific data on its proposed uses and use levels. After an evaluation of the safety of the substance by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), the European Commission decides whether or not to authorise the additive for the intended uses. The substance is then included in the EU list of permitted food additives.

Source: www.efsa.europa.eu

 

THEIR ROLES

Here is a list of the main green additives that we use in our products and their roles.

Ascorbic acid
E300
It participates in the strengthening of the gluten network to improve the strength and workability of the dough, therefore to ensure good volume and improve the structure.

 

Sodium bicarbonate
E500
It is a raising agent which when heated releases carbon dioxide that makes breads and cakes rise.

 

Pectin
E440
It’s a starch that occurs naturally in the cell walls of fruits like apple for example. It is, in fact, the very thing that gives them structure. When mixed with water and cooked to a high temperature, it forms a gel. It enables the thickening of the fruit fillings, creams, etc. It is what makes jams develop a semi-solid texture when they cool.

 

Acidity regulators (E330,etc.)
They lower the pH to avoid the undesirable bacterial developments. They can also be used to activate the raising agent. The best known acidity regulator is citric acid (E330).  

 

Lecithin
E322
It’s an emulsifier. Emulsifiers are molecules with one water-loving (hydrophilic) and one oil-loving (hydrophobic) end. They make it possible for water and oil to become finely dispersed in each other, creating a stable, homogenous, smooth emulsion. They are used in creams, chocolate or margarines. Emulsifiers can be found in egg yolks for mayonnaise or in oil plant such as soy, colza and sunflower.
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