Food additives are:
- Sweeteners to sweeten foods or in table-top sweeteners;
- Colours adding or restoring colour in a food;
- Preservatives prolonging shelf-life of foods by protecting them against deterioration by micro-organisms;
- Antioxidants prolonging shelf-life of foods by protecting them against oxidation e.g. fat rancidity, colour changes;
- Stabilisers to maintain the physico-chemical state of a foodstuff;
- Emulsifiers to maintain the mixture of oil and water in a foodstuff.
Added to food for technological purposes in its manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packaging, transport or storage, food additives become a component of the food. EU legislation describes 26 different technological functions.