What are the food additives?

They are substances used to enhance flavor and longevity of food. Some of them have a natural source and have been used for years, but nowadays a lot of food additives are chemical. They gained popularity in 1950s. It was mainly caused by the advent of processed food ( ugh! ).

Their use is regulated by a special , which aims to inform consumers about their presence in food. All the additives have a unique number assigned to them (511, 203 etc.), which has to be included in the list of ingredients. In the US it is only a number that is visible on the list, but in Europe, all the food addivites are preceded by the letter “E”.

For example, alkanet is marked in the US as additive 103, while in Europe it would be marked as E103.

Because of the unique way of marking, they are often referred to as “E numbers”. There are many controversies surrounding their use. That’s why Stefan Gates decided to document his journey into the world of E numbers. The journey was transmitted on BBC and some of the episodes can been found on YouTube.  You can find one of them below:

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