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There are thousands of ingredients during delicious food processing. These ingredients have served useful functions in all kinds of foods for centuries. Today, consumers demand and enjoy a food supply that is flavorful, nutritious, safe, convenient, colorful, and affordable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of over 3000 food ingredients in its database “Everything Added to Food in the United States”, many of which we use at home every day. Most of these food additives and ingredients are chemicals or chemical compounds.

Why food ingredients are added during food processing?

1. To Maintain or Improve Food Freshness and Safety:
Food preservatives can slow product spoilage caused by mold, air, bacteria, fungi or yeast. They can maintain food quality and control contamination that can cause foodborne illness. Food antioxidants, one group of preservatives, can prevent edible oils and fats from becoming rancid. They also can prevent cut fresh fruits from turning brown oxidized by air.

2. To Improve or Maintain Nutritional Value:
During many food processes, vitamins and minerals (and dietary fiber) are added to make up for food nutrition enhancement or lost in processing. Such enrichment has helped reduce malnutrition in the world. All food products containing added nutrients must be appropriately labeled.

3. Improve Taste, Texture, and Appearance:
Natural and artificial flavors, sweeteners, and spices are added to enhance the taste of food. Food colors can improve product appearance. During food processing, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners can give foods the texture and consistency consumers expect. Leavening agents allow baked goods to rise during baking. Some food additives and ingredients can help control the product’s acidity and alkalinity, while others can help maintain the taste and appeal of foods with reduced fat content.