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


Food additives are non-nutritive substances added deliberately to any food product in small amounts to improve its color, texture, taste, flavor, consistency and shelf life. They integrate with the food item to become a component, thereby improving its quality.

They integrate with the food item to become a component, thereby improving its quality.

Food additives are used during production, processing, treatment, packaging, transportation or storage of food.

The exact history of food additives is not known, but research indicates the existence of food additives to date back to the prehistoric man who added certain chemicals to smoked meat. Later methods like salting fish and meat to improve its shelf life, adding spices and indigenous herbs to food to improve its taste and pickling fruits using salt and vinegar, came into practice.

The use of food additives was minimum in the past when food was mostly prepared at home from fresh raw ingredients. Food items were seasonal and seldom available off season. Today we find most food being made available all round the year, enabling the urban population to enjoy food in great varieties.

Food is also made available in places where it is not produced (e.g. fish in non-coastal region), due to the usage of food additives. The present day food industry has grown and flourished due to the liberal use of food additives. These additives have also led to the extensive production and marketing of 'easy-to-prepare' convenience foods.

What is new in Food Additives?

1. Common Food Additive in Processed Foods Triggers Celiac Disease

Celiac disease could be caused and triggered due to a common food additive present in some processed foods. The additive is present in sausages, cheese, bread, dairy, baked and other processed foods reveal a study.


  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.

Latest Publications and Research on Food Additives


belmarra Thursday, March 21, 2013

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.

srmcurology Thursday, July 16, 2009

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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