ADDITIVES & PRESERVATIVES USED IN FOOD PROCESSING AND PRESERVATION, AND THEIR HEALTH IMPLICATION
Additives is “any substance the intended use of which result or may reasonably be expected to result directly or indirectly in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food” (United States Government 1981). Additives is any substance not commonly regarded or used as a food, which is added to or used in or on food at any stage to affect its keeping qualities, odaur, alkalinity or acidity or to serve any other technological function in relation to food (food labeling Regulations 1984). Additives are a substance or mixture of substances, other than a basic foodstuff, which is present in a food as a result of any aspect of production, processing, storage or packaging (nutrition Board 1959). Additives is non-nutritive substances added intentionally to food, generally in small quantities, to improved it’s appearance, flavour, texture or storage properties (A report of a joint FAO and WHO Expect committee 156).
Additives are any substance used in or around food that may become a component of the food. Some are introduced specifically for the purpose of improving the nutritive value, taste, texture, or shelf life of the product; these are intentional additives other enters food as residues after some stage of production or manufacture and are known as incidental additives (introductory Nutrition 1989). Additives are chemicals that are added to food to improve it in some way. Additives are used to modify colour, flavour and texture; to improve the keeping qualities of food and to make processing easier. It is used to control moisture and acidity. They are used to improve nutritional value. Thousands of different substances are now used as additives, to some people. The increasing number of additives being used is a cause for concern, if not alarm, and if is important to emphasize that the use f additives is most carefully controlled ( Allan G. Cameron 1975).
Need for food additives.
Food additives play or important role in today’s complex food supply. Never before has the range and choice of foods been so wide either in supermarkets, specialist food shops or when eating out. Whilst a shrinking purporting of the population is engaged in primary food production, consumer are demanding more variety choice and convenience alongside higher. Standards of safety and wholesomeness at affordable prices. Meeting these consumer expectations can only be achieved using modern food processing technologies which include the use of a variety of food additives proven effective and safe through long use and rigorous testing (Flowerdew, D. 1999).
How is the safety of food additive evaluated in Europe; All food additive must have a demonstration useful purpose and undergo a rigorous scientific safety evaluation before they can be approved for use. Until the creation of the European food safety Authority mo (EFSA) 177, the safety evaluation of additives in Europe was done by the scientific committee on food (scf). At present, it is the EFSA panel on food additives, flavouring, processing, Aids and material in contest with food (AFC panel) who is in charge of this task. Assessments are based in reviews of all available toxicological date in the humans and animals models. From the available date, the maximum level of additive that has no demonstrable toxic effect is determined. This is called “ no-observed-adverse-effect level” (NOAEL) and is used to determined the “Acceptable Daily intake” (ADI) for each food additive. The ADI provides a large safety margin and is the amount of a food additive that can be consumed daily over a life time without any adverse effect on health (European parliament and council Directive 1988).
Groups of additive according to committee on toxicity:
– Group A: Additives that the available evidence suggests are acceptable for use in food.
– Group B: Additives that on the available evidence may be regarded meanwhile as provisionally acceptable for use in food, but about which further information is necessary and which must be reviewed within a specified time.
– Group C: Additives for which the available evidence suggests probable toxicity and which ought not to be allowed in food without evidence establishing their acceptability.
-Group D: additives for which the available evidence suggests possible toxicity and which ought not to be allowed in food.
– Group E: Additives for which the available evidence was inadequate to enable an opinion to be expressed as to their suitability for use in food.
– Group F: additives for which no information toxicity was available.
Substance that is not on permitted lists must not be used for the preparation, manufacture and distribution of foods for sale to the ultimate consumer. In the case of colours, emulsifiers, stabilizers, solvents and most miscellaneous additives, there are no limitations on amounts used in foods although there are prohibitions of their use in certain classes of foods (Furia 1972). Preservation is “any substance which is a capable of inhibiting, retarding or arresting the growth of micro-organisms or any deterioration of food due to micro-organisms or masking the evidence of such, micro-organisms are yeast, meld, Bacteria.
The use of preservatives to perseverance food has been a common practice for many centuries e.g. salt, sugar, vinegar; spices have been used in homes, for as long as man has been in existence (Britain food Regulations 1989). Preservatives are centuries old, since ancient times, salt has been used to cure meats and fish, sugar has been added to fruits to conserve them, Herbs, spices and vinegar have also served as preservatives. Today’, the U.S food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food preservatives, arrested, mistakes have been made, which has resulted in taking some food preservatives off the market. That is because at the time of approval, prevailing testing methods proved the substance as safe. As science continued to evolve and testing methods improved, changes were made. Technology has also assisted in the approval process, as it has become more sophisticated over the years as well.
Preservatives are often present in nature but they are in such small quantities, difficult to obtain. To obtain commercially useful amounts of the preservatives synthetic copies of the natural products. Other preservatives are made in the series of chemical reactions. Typically, preservatives attack the enzymes inside the microbes and some can disrupt the microbe’s cell wall so that substances cannot enter, processes kill or seriously slow the growth of food-spoiling microbes. Probably, the most important use of preservatives from the food safety point of view is in processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami and sausages. Bacteria like clostridium botulinum can produce deadly poisons and the use of preservatives in such products is absolutely essential. For example, most cured and cooked meats contain the preservative. Potassium nitrate (salt petre).
The ability to preserve food in good condition for long periods is an undoubted bon. The amount of food wasted is reduced and the incidence of food poisoning is minimized. A wider range of foods is available including foods “out of season” and foods from overseas that could not be transported and stocked in former times. The widespread use of preservatives, refrigerators, ‘deep freezer’ equipment and canned and dehydrated food has made it easy for the consumer or caterer to have available a wide range of wholesome food at all times of the year. As we are suppressing the growth of micro organisms, an effective method of food preservation must retain, as far as possible, the original characteristics of the food and imparity nutritive value as little as possible (Saltmarsh, M. 2000). We may say that without additives and preservatives, the very wide range of foods we have come to take for granted would not exist and most convenience foods could not be made. Our food would be less attractive and less palatable and seasonal foods would not be available all the year round as they are now. Less food would be available in a fresh and prime condition and to put it bluntly – less food would be available.