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Science

Cooking food and additives

Food additives

Everything in food is made from chemicals. Some of these are natural, and some are artificial. Processed foods, including vegetable oils, may have chemicals added to them. These additives have different roles, including extending a product’s shelf-life and improving its taste and appearance.

The table below describes some of the main types of food additives.

Types of food additives

type of additivereason for adding it
antioxidantsstop food from reacting with oxygen
colouringsimprove the colour of food
flavour enhancersimprove the flavour of food
emulsifiershelp oil and water mix, and not separate out

Additives with an E number have been licensed by the European Union. Some are natural, some artificial, but they have all been safety tested and passed for use.

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