Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Term of Food Additive

The Term of Food Additive
The definition used by the Codex Alimentarius Commission is:

‘Food Additive’ means any substance not normally consumed as a food by itself and not normally used as a typical ingredient of the food, whether or not it has nutritive value, the intentional addition of which to food for a technological (including organoleptic) purpose in the manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment , packing, packaging, transport or holding of such food result, or may be reasonably expected to result (directly or indirectly) in it or its by products becoming a component of or otherwise affecting the characteristics of such foods. The term does not include ‘contaminants’ or substance added to food for marinating or improving nutritional qualities.

This definition:
-Leaves much room for judgment regarding what is a “typical” ingredient

-Includes only direct additives though use of the word “intentional”

-Excludes contaminants and nutritional adjuncts, both of which can be additives under US law.

As might be expected, there is also a definition for contaminants, and pesticides, also defined, constitute a separate category.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission has a committee on Food Additive, for which the host is the Netherlands.

Its responsibility is, in part, “To endorse or establish permitted maximum levels for individual food additives and for contaminants in specific food items.”

The commission also has set forth a set of general principles for the use of food additives which requires that they be proven safe for their intended use, that they have definitive specifications, and that they serve one or more of flour defined purposes:

-To preserve nutritional quality

-To provide necessary ingredient or foods for groups of consumers having special dietary needs

-To have keeping quality or improve organoleptic properties

-To provide a processing aid
The Term of Food Additive

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