Intentional Additives

Food Standard and Quality Control

Lesson 19 : Food Additives

Intentional Additives

that are intentionally added to foods to aid in processing or to act as preservatives or to improve the quality of the food – are called intentional additives the detailed functions of these additives can be classified as follows


  • As Nutrition Supplements. Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are used to improve general nutrition. Rickets and incidence of goitre have been reduced by the use of iodized salt. A general improvements in health standards can be traced by the use of iodized salt. Rickets can also be traced to the supplementation of cereal product with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Breakfast cereals combined with milk are, according to nutrition experts nutritionally good foods.

  • As Colouring Agents. The natural colouring materials in foods may be intensified, modified, or stabilized by the addition of natural colouring materials, or certified food dyes. While these chemicals alter only the appearance of food they are important for aesthetic value they add and the psychological effect they have on our food consumption habits.

  • As Preservatives. Chemicals may be used to help prevent or retard microbiological spoilage and chemical deterioration. However, they must not disguise spoilage, deceive the consumer, or permit unsanitary food handling.

  • As flavouring Agents. In number, flavour additives probably exceed all other intentional chemical food additives combined. In volume, their use is small. All natural as well as synthetic flavours used in foods must first be approved as safe for health. The similarity of synthetic flavours to those produced in nature permits both types to be used freely in combination with results not different from either used alone. Flavor enhancers, which do not add flavours but instead intensify those already present, also require approval for use. Chemical enhancers were developed originally for commercial food processing. However, one such chemical motto sodium glutamate (MSG), has since found a market as a consumer product. 5. As Agents to improve Functional Properties. Chemicals in this classification at as thickening, firming and maturing agents, or effect the colloidal properties of foods, such as in gelling, emulsifying, foaming, and suspending. For example, calcium salts help to firm the texture of canned tomatoes.

  • As Processing Aids. Sanitizing agents, metal binding compounds, antifoaming agents, chemicals that prevent fermentation and chemicals that remove extraneous materials are grouped in this classification. For example, silicones to prevent foam formation in wine fermentation, and citric acid combine with metals and prevent oxidative rancidity. As Moisture Content Controls. Chemicals sometimes are used to increase or decrease the moisture content in food products. For instance, glycerine is approved for use in marshmallows as a humectants to retain soft-texture. Calcium silicate is frequently added to table salt to prevent caking due to moisture in the air.

  • As Acid-Alkaline Controls. Various acids, alkalies and salts may be added to food to establish a desire able pH, phosphoric acid in soft drinks, and citrate salts in fruit jellies are examples of this chemical control of acid-alkaline balance.

  • As Physiologic Activity Controls. The additives in this group are usually added to fresh foods to serve as ripeners or anti metabolic agents. Examples of application for this purpose are ethylene, used to hasten the ripening of bananas, and malic hydraside, used to prevent potatoes from sprouting
Last modified: Monday, 20 February 2012, 7:59 AM