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Additives and Preservatives
Food additive refers to any substance that is artificially added to foods for technical purposes during the production, processing, preparation, handling, packaging, transportation or storage of food. Food additives have the following characteristics: 1. These substances are added to the food, and they are generally not eaten as food alone; 2.They Include both synthetic and natural substances. The purpose of using additives is to improve the quality, color, aroma, taste of food, as well as to facilitate the preservation and processing of the food. Food preservatives are additives that prevent microbial spoilage and prolong the shelf life of foods. It is also called antimicrobial because it has the effect of preventing food poisoning caused by microorganisms.
Figure 1. Food additives and preservatives
Problems in the Use of Food Preservatives and Their Hazards
In order to reduce the cost of food production, preservatives with poor quality, low cost and large side effects have become the first choice for unscrupulous merchants. The use of chemical preservatives in food preservation and food processing is growing. The improper use of chemical synthetic preservatives may have certain side effects, and long-term excessive intake may cause certain harm to the health of the body. Sorbic acid and potassium sorbate are internationally recognized safe preservatives, but excessive intake can also affect the body's metabolic balance, while preservatives can also damage the nutritional flavor of food.
Regulation for Food Additives and Preservatives
Food additives play an important role in the food industry. However, excessive addition of food additives can affect human health. Therefore, it is urgently needed to establish a strict system of supervision and management of the use of food additives using regulations. The European Union (EU) requires that food additives, such as food enzymes and food flavorings, whether food ingredients or other substances, used alone or in combination, should be labeled on the packaging or container at the time of sale. When a food additive contains multiple components, it should be listed in descending order according to the relative content of its ingredients. EU food additive laws and regulations stipulate that only additives approved for inclusion in the Uniform List of Food Additives can be used, and no one should place foods containing unapproved food additives on the market.
Countermeasures and Recommendations for Using Preservatives
In order to ensure the safe use of food preservatives, we should strengthen the promotion of knowledge of food hygiene, especially the knowledge about food preservatives. Consumers should correctly understand food preservatives and master the common sense of food preservatives. The health supervision agency should strengthen the supervision and management of food production enterprises and operating enterprises, and require the producers and operators to control the production and use of preservatives within a reasonable range permitted by the state. We should promote green consumption, focus on new natural preservatives, and promote the use of safe, nutritious, pollution-free preservatives.
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