Food Additives - Fast Foods and Food Additives

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Written by Bina Naik | Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu / dr. sunil shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on May 16, 2019
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Foods and Food additives

Fast food and ‘Ready-to-eat’ foods are the order of the day and food additives have made this possible.

1. Convenience Foods:

Convenience foods are food items, which have undergone preliminary cooking before hitting the market. Food additives are used in all convenience foods, for example, some anti-caking agents in wheat flour.

It is very common for urbanites to use convenience food in their daily life even without realizing it. The previous generation used to buy wheat, clean it, sun dry it and then grind it in a mill. However the lifestyle today demands readymade foods like:

  • Wheat flour
  • Soup packet
  • Cake mixes

The addition of flavor-enhancers and flavoring agents, along with certain preservatives increases the shelf life of these ready made food items.

Different dehydration methods have helped in the development of vegetable soup mixes. Some convenience foods, such as frozen peas, requires processing techniques like blanching, wherein the peas after shelling are subjected to high temperatures for a brief period and then rapidly cooled and frozen.

The demand for convenience food is on the rise. The life of a working person, who comes home tired, is made a lot simpler by the easy availability of 'convenience food'.

2. Ready to eat foods

The use of food additives have also led to the production of food items that are ready to be consumed, such as packaged limejuice or milk with a longer shelf life.

A preservative or a stabilizer is added to the products before its packaging. The product must be consumed within the expiry date and can be carried anywhere.

References:

  1. Food Science: Third Addition - By Norman Potter
  2. Anticaking Agents - (http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/anticaking-agents.html)
  3. Hydrogenated Sperm Oil: Sec 173.275, of Ch 1 "Food and Drug Administration, Dept of Health and Human Services", Code of Federal Regulations.

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Thanks for such good post. Food additives is used in to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.Food additives is to be divided into several groups all are acidic in nature .artificial food additives have been linked with cancer, digestive problems, neurological conditions.

The Centre for Science for the public Interest in the USA reports that - Hazards in food cause an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year, most of which are never reported to public health officials. These illnesses cost American taxpayers approximately $6.9 billion annually in medical costs, hospitalizations, and lost work time according to the Economic Research Service (USDA).

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