Distinguishing Food Additives & Preservatives

Food additives and preservatives are commonly used terms in the food industry. Both are related to the processing and storage of food materials and are chemical compounds that may be added naturally or artificially to food. They help prevent deterioration and enhance consumer acceptance.

Food Additives

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a food additive as “any substance, the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result, directly or indirectly, in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food.” The purpose of adding these compounds to food may vary depending on the requirement. They can maintain food quality and safety, improve nutritional composition, and assist in product processing. Food additives can be categorized in several ways, such as natural or artificial, and based on their purpose of addition, such as colors, preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, sweeteners, and flavorings.

Food Preservatives

Preservatives can be classified into two categories: antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. Antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid, BHT, and BHA, can prevent the rancidity of fat or spoilage of fruits. Antimicrobial agents can hinder the growth of redundant microorganisms like spoilage bacteria and molds. By adding preservatives, the quality and safety of food can be assured to a greater extent. They affect both biological and chemical components in food material.

Key Takeaways

  • Food additives are a wide range of chemical compounds used for different purposes in food processing and storage.
  • Preservatives are a type of food additive that inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and molds in foods and prevents some disagreeable chemical reactions, such as lipid oxidation.
  • Chemical additives have a maximum permissible level that is very specific.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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