The term “No Artificial Preservatives Added” is becoming popular in television commercials. The seal can be found on some popular foods claiming that its free from any artificial preservatives. Sounds good because more and more individuals are becoming health conscious. They don’t want any artificial preservatives in their diets.
I bought an instant noodles.”No Artificial Preservatives Added” is printed on front label . I cooked and ate it without any hesitations. While eating, I inspected the label for any possible preservatives or food additives. Don’t be confused. Food preservatives are added to foods for the purpose of extending its shelf life while food additives can be color enhancer, flavor enhancer, texture enhancer, anti-oxidant or a preservative.
I found the following:
1. Salt – The primary function is to enhance food flavor. It also acts as natural preservative. Normal consumption does not render any harmful effects. Although excess consumption is bad for our liver.
2. Monosodium Glutamate – It is a flavor enhancer made by fermentation of carbohydrate. Popular for giving food the umami flavor. I heard many testimonies about its bad effects but there are no solid evidences yet.
3. Sugar – Another natural preservative and flavor enhancer. Like salt excess intake is harmful to your health.
4. Artificial Chicken Flavor – I don’t know the specific chemical term because it was not mentioned.
5. Flavor enhancer – Its a general term for food additives with the purpose of improving food flavors. United State Food and Drug Administration mandates that ingredients labeling should be very specific. General terms are not allowed.
6. Carbonates – Yet another general term . It can be calcium carbonate, potassium carbonate or sodium carbonate. I was confused.
7. Sodium tripolyphosphates – It is mainly used in detergents and soap. Also act as preservatives. No proven harm to human yet.
8. Stabilizer – A chemical that is added to a solution or mixture or suspension to maintain it in a stable or unchanging state. In short, it is a food preservative. Another general term.
9. Vitamin A – One of the essential vitamins.
10. Tartrazine – Known as E number E102 or C.I. 19140. A synthetic lemon yellow azo dye used as a food coloring. May cause allergic reactions.
11. Sunset yellow – Sulfonated version of Sudan I, a possible carcinogen, which is frequently present in it as an impurity
12. Tocopherol – Known as vitamin E. It acts as anti-oxidant.
Various chemicals may be found safe for human consumption but the long term effects are hard to assess. Research may take years, decades and centuries. It might be too late before you know it.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.