Food additives are substances deliberately added to food products in order to carry out specific tehnologic functions such as, for example, colouring, sweetening or preserving. In the European Union, all the food additives are identified through a number preceded by the letter E. These must be indicated within the food ingredients of the product. The product’s labels must report both the additives’ function on the final food product (for example dye, preservative, etc.) and the specific used substance, referring to the relative E number or denomination (example E392 or rosemary extract). The most common additives on food labels are antioxidants (to prevent deterioration from oxidation), dyes, emulsifiers, stabilizers, gelling agents, thickeners, preservatives and sweeteners.
In the food and beverage sphere, the most common used additives are:
- E300 Ascorbic acid
- E316 Sodium erythorbate
- E320 Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- E322 Soia lecythin
- E385 EDTA
- E306 Tocopherol
- E392 Rosemary extract*
* If used as an antioxidant it has to be labeled as an additive.