In recent years, consumers have become increasingly aware of food safety issues. Some people think that foods containing additives are not good, and “no addition” and “zero addition” are synonymous with high-quality food. In supermarkets, the word “no addition” on the Chinese and foreign packaging of the same type of food often attracts more attention. But is “additive-free” equivalent to the absence of any additives? Is “No Addition” Really Safer Than “With Addition”? Is the same kind of food, the fewer types of food additives, the better the quality? Experts said that for the modern food industry, food additives are indispensable. Touting “no addition” makes food additives “demonized”, easily mislead consumers, and is an unfair competition behavior.
Food additives refer to artificially synthesized or natural substances added to food to improve the quality and color, aroma, and taste of food, and to meet the needs of preservation, freshness, and processing technology. At present, China’s food additives include 23 categories, including anti-caking agents, preservatives, sweeteners, antioxidants, leavening agents, colorants, and flavors, totaling more than 2,000.
Whether it is industrial production of bread, cakes, fruit drinks, ice cream, etc., or home-made buns, buns, churros, etc., it is inseparable from food additives. In the past, for foods that needed long-term preservation, we could only pickle, smoke, and sugar, but now the use of preservatives has greatly extended the shelf life of various cuisines and reduced the salt intake of consumers. Antioxidants deprive oily nuts and home cooking oils of “Hala flavor”. Anti-caking agents prevent salt from clumping in humid summers. Sweeteners greatly reduce the use of sucrose and reduce the energy intake of consumers. The use of food coloring makes food more appetizing.
It can be said that food additives are the products of the development of modern food industry. Without food additives, there would be no modern food industry. Consumers are looking for “additive-free” foods, essentially seeking healthier foods. But in fact, the consumer’s pursuit of “no additions” will make some small workshops empty and make “natural” foods without preservatives. As a result, the food will spoil in a short time, and its health risks are not small. Therefore, as a rational consumer, there is no need to talk about “adding” color changes, but to understand which substances can be added to foods and which cannot be added.
Food additives are not illegal additives
Due to the exposure of illegal and illegal incidents during food processing, such as the abuse of additives (excessive use of cyclamate, sulfur dioxide, etc.), illegal addition (Sudan red duck eggs, melamine milk powder, lean pork), use of industrial-grade raw materials (industrial citric acid, industrial Gelatin, etc.), many consumers are very repellent to additives. There are rumors that “accumulation of additives in the body leads to chronic poisoning”, and that consumers attribute the potential harmfulness of long-term consumption of certain foods to additives.
Generally speaking, food additives are involved in normal metabolism and excreted in the human body, or excreted without absorption. China’s food additives are put into application after toxicological evaluation and comprehensive international use effects. The safety evaluation itself considers a large amount of daily, life-long intake, so “accumulation of additives in the body leads to chronic poisoning” There is no evidence to support it. Others worry that the simultaneous use of multiple additives may cause interactions in the body to cause greater harm. In fact, the safe dosage of the additives has been considered in experiments, and consumers need not worry.
The potential hazards of long-term consumption of a certain food should not be “backed up” by additives. For example, some parents feel that children’s health problems caused by market snacks are due to the use of food additives. The reality is that excessive snack intake affects the nutritional intake of children’s normal diet. Some people think that additives in cola are harmful to human health, but the potential health risk of cola is the large amount of free sugars in it.
Food additives are safe to use in the specified range and dosage, but cannot be used in excess. For example, in the process of making tofu, brine is an additive that plays a solidifying role, and the amount of it determines the degree of tenderness of the tofu. In the play “White Hair Girl”, the white hair girl’s father, Yang Bailao, was forced into despair by the bully landlord Huang Shiren, drank the brine he used to make tofu, and was killed by Huang Quan. The cause of Yang Bailao’s death was actually “excessive use of food additives.”
Food additives are additives used in the field of food processing. In addition, additives include feed additives, pharmaceutical additives, concrete additives, plastic additives, paint additives, gasoline additives and so on. Other additives and chemical raw materials are not allowed to be used in food, otherwise they are illegally added. The well-known melamine is not a food additive, but a concrete additive, a plastic additive and a coating additive. Sudan red and formalin are both chemical raw materials and they are not food additives.
Consumers who want to know the food additive standards for a certain type of food can query the National Food Safety Standard Food Additive Use Standards (GB 2760-2014). The standard provides 16 types of food additives allowed in milk and dairy products, fats, oils and emulsified fat products, frozen drinks and other types of food, and specifies the scope and amount of food additives.
“No Additions” Suspected of Misleading Consumers
As for the “no added” foods declared in the market, many food practitioners believe that this is an improper way of publicity. Emphasizing that the “no added” of their own products seems to imply that the products of other businesses are “added”, which will mislead consumers . There may be two cases of “non-additive” foods. One is that the related standards do not allow adding, and the other is that the related standards allow adding but the merchant does not add.
For example, for wheat flour, “no addition” generally means that no whitening agent is added, but the whitening agent is not allowed to be added. For example, some foods, such as honey, pickled fruits, and milk at room temperature, do not need preservatives, but have been promoted as “preservative-free”. It was originally not allowed or needed to add food additives, but using this as a selling point was a commercial gimmick and had no practical significance for health.
Regarding the question of “the fewer types of additives for the same food, the better the quality”, the responsible comrade of the Guangzhou Institute of Quality Supervision and Inspection pointed out that the production process and production ingredients of each food are different, and the quality of food products is not based on food. What kind of additives are added to determine.
When food production and processing enterprises produce and process foods, it is safe to use food additives according to the scope of use and the limits of use specified in the National Food Safety Standard Food Additive Use Standards. The “No Addition” slogan is a business approach that caters to consumer psychology. If consumers can scientifically understand food additives and understand their use regulations, they will not be troubled by such problems.