Where did food additives originate from?

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Food additives are now widely used across the world. They are an important part of our daily life; we all have heard things about them, whether they were good or bad things. It is a very complicated topic. If you want to get a clear understanding of what they are, we might as well start from the beginning. Where actually did food additives originate from? Not everybody is able to answer this very specific question.

They were first used in the Antiquity. Of course, the methods and the products used were not the same as today, but it was still common. For instance, the curing, which refers to the preservation of the products using for instance salt, was used in the Roman Empire. It was so important that Roman soldiers were actually paid in salt (hence the word “salary” coming from the Latin word “salarium”). This goes to show us how important food additives were back then. To go even further, some hieroglyphics studies have shown that ancient Egyptians may have used yeast in the fermentation of alcoholic beverage as well as in the leavening of bread.  

We were thus not the first ones to use them, but we most definitely were the first to use them to such an important extent.

The food additives used in the Antiquity were actually natural. But times have changed and the globalization has meant that in order to get food from one side of the world to another it is necessary to treat foods with more complex conservation methods: chemical food additives.

The question being: what are the chemicals used in this process? Some food additives may have some noxious effects while some may be harmless.

Hence the growing concerns related to this specific topic. Which is why the WHO decided to go one step further to limit food additives that are harmful to human health.

For instance the Red 2G color dye (E218) was forbidden in 2007 because it was seen as potentially harmful.

Nowadays it is very hard to find a product that has not been processed.

Companies like us produce products that would not present such negative side effects. We have started to produce sulphite-free, phosphate-free and carbonate-free food additives which are harmless for their users.