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    Food Additives Testing for Food Safety

    Food additives are substances that are used to prepare, process and preserve raw materials so foods look attractive, taste better and are nutritious. Food additives serve a useful purpose in food manufacturing but need to be tested and analysed in food testing laboratories and re-assessed especially if they are synthetically made so there are no chemical changes in foods. Some preservatives have the potential to cause allergenic reactions so food testing is required.


    Food additive labelling
     
    According to FSSAI regulations all food additives used in food products must be individually mentioned in the ingredients list on labels of pre-packed products along with specific quantities in which they have been used. The quantities of each additive must be within the prescribed regulatory limits and these need to be verified from an accredited testing laboratory. Food additive testing in laboratories can verify the quantity and presence of colorants, sweeteners, vitamins, preservatives and other additives in the food for manufacture, sale or distribution.

    Testing of food additives

    Food manufacturers use new food additives only after they have been tested and assessed for food safety in independent food testing labs.Testing labs also ensure use of food additives according to the Recommended Daily Allowance so they do not pose any health hazard. The testing labs ensure that food manufacturers remain compliant with food additive regulations. They help to identify non-permitted or inaccurately labelled additives or those that are above permitted limits. Food additives in various food products likemeat products, dairy, pastry, packaged and processed foods, ready to eat foods, sauces, refreshments, beverages and food supplements are all tested.

    Kinds of food additives tested

    If the permitted limits of the food additives in the food products exceed the values then it could lead to harmful health effects on consumers.Food testing laboratories undertake testing for foods like preservatives, sugars artificial sweeteners, acids and acidity regulators, food colours, colour retention agents, emulsifiers, flavours, flavour enhancers, flour treatment agents, glazing agents, humectants, tracer gas, stabilizers, thickeners, anticaking agents, antifoaming agents,bulking agents, starch, antioxidants, etc.Food testing laboratories ensure that food additives have not been used to disguise poor quality of raw materials. They also make sure that fats, oils, colours, vitamins or flavouring agents are used in such a manner that they do not oxidise.

    Harmful food additives

    Some food additives are banned like agene, cinnamyl anthranilate, cobalt salts, diethyl pyrocarbonate, etc. and so food testing labs test food products to ensure they are not present in foods.Different food additives have varied functions and are used by food business operators during different processes and they have to be careful while using some of the harmful food additives as aspartame, sodium nitrate, caffeine, food colours, etc. Aspartame is a toxic sweetener and could lead to adverse impacts on the human body.

    Some synthetic food colouring could lead to behavioural problems in children. The regulatory bodies have defined limits for all food additives and all food products must be periodically tested from the accredited laboratories to ensure compliance.

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