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Efsa News

EU food additives : making our food safer

What are food additives?
Additives are substances used for a variety of reasons - such as preservation, colouring, sweetening, etc. - during the preparation of food. EU legislation defines them as "any substance not normally consumed as a food in itself and not normally used as a characteristic ingredient of food, whether or not it has nutritive value, the intentional addition of which to food for a technological purpose in the manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packaging, transport or storage of such food results, or may be reasonably expected to result, in it or its by-products becoming directly or indirectly a component of such foods."

What are additives used for?
Additives can be used for various purposes. EU legislation defines 26 "technological purposes." Additives are used, among other things, as:
  • Colours – they are used to add or restore colour in a food;
  • Preservatives – these are added to prolong the shelf-life of foods by protecting them against micro-organisms;
  • Antioxidants – t ...
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