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Have Correct Ideas of Food Additives and Enjoy Safe Food

【Update Date:2020-02-27unit:食品組

The safety of food additives is often a concern of the public. Food additives have been used for hundreds of years. Careful use of food additives helps improve the quality and safety of food. The most important point is to use them legally and reasonably.

Food additives were mostly natural substances in the beginning. For example, berries naturally contain benzoic acid, propionic acid could be found as produced during the fermentation of cheese, and acetic acid can also be produced by the fermentation of vinegar. These acids not only impart special flavor to food, but also, due to the decrease in pH, suppress the growth of microorganisms and extend the storage time of food. Both of nucleotide phosphates (such as Sodium 5'–Inosinate and Sodium 5'–Guanylate) found in foods such as mushrooms and fish and glutamic acid found in kelp can enhance the umami taste of food.

Food additives are used for many purposes. For example, nitrite added in sausages can help maintain a bright red color in meat, and also prevent botulism poisoning; vitamin E added in oil can prevent oil oxidation; leavening agent in biscuits and muffins help enhance the texture; thickening agent in sauces increases the adhesion and body; sweeteners let those who are not suitable for sweets enjoy sweet foods. All in all, in addition to maintaining the sensory characteristics and quality of the food, the more important thing is to ensure food safety.

Countries around the world set standards governing the use of food additives to regulate their scope, limitation, and specifications. “The Standards for Specification, Scope, Application and Limitation of Food Additives” of R.O.C. are made and promulgated after referring to animal safety studies, to relevant international regulations and standards and their applications, to the physical and chemical characteristics of various food additives, to the use of additives after being processed and its necessity, to the documents on the foods, scope, processing procedure, and the amount of use of the additives, and considering the conditions of the dietary habits and health risks of the citizens, and making careful evaluation on them. Legal use of food additives should not cause harm to consumers' health provided that business operators make reasonable use of the food additives and strictly follow the above-mentioned standards.

Careful use of food additives can ensure the quality and safety of food. The most important principle is to use them legally and reasonably. In using the food additives, the business operators shall consider their product formulas and follow the “Standards for Specification, Scope, Application and Limitation of Food Additives”, and shall provide as evidence the product formulas, the processing procedures, and related quality assurance information, and label their products in accordance with the provisions of the “Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation”.