What are food additives?
Food additives are not a new invention. From early times, people have seen the need to preserve food and make it look and taste better.
The ancient Egyptians used colours and flavourings. The Romans used saltpetre as a preservative – and the active ingredient in saltpetre (nitrite) is in use today as a permitted food additive.
Our way of life has changed dramatically in recent times, with the busier lives we lead meaning we spend less time in the kitchen preparing food. Developments in food technology, along with food additives, have made it possible for food to be prepared on a large scale at economic prices, allowing us to eat good food without spending hours cooking it.
For more information about the different types of additives and why they are necessary, go to: Why do we need food additives?
Before any food additive can be used in food, it must be rigorously tested to ensure it is safe and the results must be checked by independent experts. For more information about how this works visit How safe are food additives?