Demystifying Food Additives
When it comes to healthy eating, food additives are one of the most burning topics. Everybody keeps on wondering whether or not these chemicals are safe. The fact that we constantly are being overwhelmed by a lot of contradictory information does not help us make up our mind. The fact of the matter is that there is no perfect answer; there are a lot of elements one has to take into consideration when it comes to judging food additives.
First of all, food additives have been used for years, we can go all the way back to Ancient Egyptians who were using yeast for the leverage of bread and the fermentation of alcoholic beverages, or to the Roman Empire in which soldiers were partly paid in salt because it was such an important merchandise at that time (the word salary actually comes from the Latin word “salarium” in reference to salt that was a mean of payment).
Not only that, but without them, our lives wouldn’t be so easy. These shelf-life increasing substances allow us to store our product for a way more important amount of time than unprocessed foods. It is perfectly understandable that some people may feel uncomfortable eating products containing chemicals, but you have to know that in the United States of America, the food additives industry is regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
The FDA was created in 1906. One of the tasks that are incumbent upon this national organization is the regulation of the food additives market. A manufacturer trying to incorporate a chemical into the American market has to go through several assessments in order to establish whether or not a chemical is safe, or to be more specific, if it is GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe).
We are thus talking about a process that could take months and that it´s not taken lightly. Moreover, several tests are carried out on a daily basis in order to keep the food additive database up to date.
However, these aren’t the only laws ruling over this industry. There is another one, not as official, that is the customer’s’ needs. There is a growing concern from people to know what they eat, where it comes from, how it has been created and so on. Moreover, healthy eating and lifestyle bloggers keep on writing about the best eating practices, raising awareness among regular consumers. This issue is thus bound to grow bigger and bigger. The information is out, people and consumers around the world are showing a constant desire to gain additional knowledge and a lot of them are no longer accepting this old way of consuming.
Food additives have never been so much talked about than these past few years. A lot of bloggers have taken it upon themselves to look for information regarding this specific topic and provide their readers with valuable insight. Furthermore, there is a real trend nowadays when it comes to healthy eating and living. People from all around the world crave for new eating advices.
This is why, fortunately, some food additives manufacturers have started to listen to their customers’ needs and expectations, acknowledging their concerns and developing their products accordingly. It is now possible to find sulfite-free or phosphate-free food additives that have the same properties as other food additives without their noxious side-effects. It is only up to us to know where to look.
My advice to regular consumers would be to go out of their way and start looking at the products labels. Beside the nutritional value of the food, these labels also state the list of ingredients used in the processing of the product. This transparency has been asked to the food manufacturers by the legal authorities of the country in order to provide the customers with all the information they need to make their choices.
The food industry is a complex one, I’ll give you that, however it is regulated and watched over by a lot of professionals in their sectors, making sure your needs in terms of quality and safety are perfectly met.
There is nothing wrong with being willing to gain more knowledge about this specific topic; it is but the smartest thing to do actually. Yet, we wouldn’t advise you to give in to panic, believing that all food additives should be totally banned (for the record, food additives are also used in organic products) from our daily diet. We just have to find a middle-ground.