Cochineal, a natural color, is extracted from females of an insect called coccus cacti. Natural reds from cranberries, grapes, beets are also available.
Common synthetic colors include certified coal tar dye used in carbonated drinks bakery items and candies.
The synthetic colors have an edge over natural ones in that they provide greater color stability and uniformity and are cheaper compared to the natural ones. Further the desired hue of natural colors may not available.
Dietary sweeteners: Sweeteners are non-nutritive and do not add calories to the food. These are used by the weight-conscious and by patients with diabetes. Among the initial sweeteners were the cyclamates and saccharine. The former was banned in 1969 and the later was in use extensively till 1977. The common ones available today are aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame-K. Unlike aspartame, sucralose can be used while cooking. These artificial sweeteners are of great use in the preparation of low calorie or diabetic foods.
Flavoring agents: The need of flavoring agents is on the rise. This is because some flavor loss occurs either totally or partially during the steps involved in the processing of food such as heating, concentration or drying. Besides, variety being the spice of life, these flavoring agents helps in the preparation of different varieties of food. Flavoring agents is the largest group of food additive with 1200 varieties, comprising of both natural and synthetic flavors. Some natural flavors include herbs, spices and essential oils.
Synthetic flavoring agents include:
► Amyl acetate for banana flavor
► Benzaldehyde for cherry flavor
► Ethyl butrate for pineapple flavor
► Methyl anthranilate for grape flavor
Also included in this group are 'flavor enhancers' which by themselves do not have flavors but enhance the flavor when added to food. One such product is mono sodium glutamate or better known as 'ajinomoto' used, largely in Chinese cooking.
Anti-caking agents: These are used to keep the product from clumping together e.g. calcium phosphate used in salt, or magnesium carbonate used in icing sugar.
- Food Science: Third Addition - By Norman Potter
- Anticaking Agents - (http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/anticaking-agents.html)
- Hydrogenated Sperm Oil: Sec 173.275, of Ch 1 "Food and Drug Administration, Dept of Health and Human Services", Code of Federal Regulations.