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Food Additives

Anti Caking Agent

Anti Caking Agent

Anti caking agent is a chemical food additive used to avoid lumps and to facilitate free flow of any fine powders.

It is used widely in Table salts, Spice powders, Seasonings, coffee powders, cocoa powders and in many other products that are in powder form.

These are mentioned in the ingredients list with Code numbers like E551, E530, E574, etc..

Some of the commonly used chemical Anti caking agents are calcium carbonate, Magnesium carbonate, calcium silicate, magnesium silicate, silicon dioxide.

Most of the powders can be easily dissolved while cooking which eliminates the need of the anti caking agents if we ignore the look of the finished products like spice powders, spice blends and salt.

The curious case of food additives is our new series which informs you about the unnecessary ( or necessary? ) chemical food additives which is commonly used in food processing.
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The basic function of emulsifier is to make water and oil mix. If a product has both oil based and water based ingredients, it tends to separate naturally. Emulsifiers are a group of food additives that holds them together

Emulsifiers are commonly used in ice creams, Nut butters, Mayonnaise, Sauces, Breads, cakes, etc..

Any ingredient that is coded as and from E400 to E499 refers to the group of emulsifiers, stabilisers and thickeners.
Stabilisers are another set of food additives which are used to maintain the state of emulsification over a period of time.

Apart from the chemical emulsifying agents, emulsifiers are also derived from natural sources like plant based source and animal based source.
Soy lecithin and pectin are common emulsifiers that are derived from plant based sources. Gelatine is commonly used animal based emulsifier. Also it’s quite difficult to trace the origin of the emulsifier once it is derived from its source unless it is disclosed by the manufacturer of the product.

Milk, butter, egg yolk, mustard, flax seed are some of the natural emulsifiers that are used in day to day cooking.
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Food Colours

Food Colours

Food colouring agents are either natural or artificial substance, is added to a food item to influence the appetite and mask the natural variations in colour.

It was officially the first set of food additives added to the E-numbers in 1962.
A natural colouring agent is a dye or pigment derived from fruits, vegetables, algae and in some cases, insects too.
Some of the common colours derived from natural sources are
- Green from Chlorophyll,
- Orange, Red from Carrots, Tomatoes,
- Yellow from Curcumin which is the main component of Turmeric,
- Red, Purple, Blue from the Carotenoids present in Beetroots, Apricots, Oranges,
- Maroon, Violet from the Anthocyanins present in Red Cabbage, Grapes,
- Cochineal, a red color additive derived from Cochineal Scale (a scale insect). It gives shades of red colour to yogurts, sauces, soft drinks, and pastries.

Synthetic colours are manufactured by complex chemical combinations. Its widely preferred in the food industry because of its low cost. Some of the Synthetic colours are Quinoline Yellow, Allura Red, Sunset Yellow, Brilliant Blue, Indigo Carmine, Tartrazine.

Any ingredient that is coded as and from E100 to E199 refers to the food colouring agents.

Irrespective of whether it is naturally derived or synthetic colours, the food safety regulations have prescribed the desired levels of usage for all food colours.

Its commonly used in Jams, Sauces, tinned products, Ice creams, Soup mixes, Pastries, Cake mixes and Soft drinks.
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