Additives are all clearly visible on the labels of the food products we buy. But what are they for? What are the potential health risks? A little clarification is in order.
The term “additive” designates any substance which is not a normal constituent of foodstuffs, intentionally added during their manufacture to improve their technological, organoleptic or nutritional qualities. Their use is limited to the maximum concentration of 1% (except in special cases).
The term “processing aid” is used to designate additives which have only a temporary effect during the manufacturing process, and which do not remain in the food, except in trace amounts.
The legislation provides that the consumer be warned of the presence of additives in the food: each substance is listed under a code number: E , followed by the category number, followed by 2 or 3 other digitsthus E 110 designates a colorant, E 210 a preservative, E 310 an antioxidant…..
The ADI (or Acceptable Daily Intake) is determined from animal experimentation and corresponds to the no-effect dose in the laboratory animal divided by 100 (e.g.: If an additive has no effect on the animal at a dose of 1g/kg of weight, an ADI of 10 mg/kg of weight for humans will be accepted)
Some additives are listed as being able to induce allergenic, irritant or carcinogenic reactions
Despite the recommendations of the “food codex”, many additives are authorized without toxicological data or without sufficient hindsight to assess the risks generated by their regular consumption. Numerous studies are in progress, concerning three major risks: allergic reactions, carcinogenic potential, metabolic effects (digestive disorders, decalcification, hyperlipidemia, kidney stones, etc.)
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