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Sustainable Food Guide
Environmental Practice at Work © 2005 Link:EP@W Ltd Web Site

'Food for Life'
Catering Mark

 Additive Information..

Food additives are authorised at EU level for all Member States, as well as for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. An additive with an E number means that it has passed safety tests and has been approved for use in the European Union. Only additives that are explicitly authorised may be used. Most food additives may only be used in limited quantities in certain foodstuffs.

Additives with their E number or name must appear on all food packaging with the ingredients. This allows you to choose to avoid foods containing specific additives.

Food additives are grouped by what they do:

  • Antioxidants
  • Colours
  • Emulsifiers, stabilisers, gelling agents and thickeners
  • Flavourings
  • Preservatives
  • Sweeteners

The Food Standards Agency in the UK, a Government body, makes sure that controls on additives are adhered to and investigate any information that casts doubt on an additive's safety.

Additives, like pesticides, are ultimately covered by international regulations called CODEX. Codex is part of the UN FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme concerned with protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in the food trade. It encourages countries to harmonise their food laws and adopt internationally agreed standards.

Salt reduction is a priority of the UK government, which has promoted a voluntary approach with industry (July 2005) to help reduce the average salt intake of the population to 6g/person/day by 2010.


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