I
FOOD INTOLERANCE
FOOD ADDITIVES
Most additives approved by the EU have been given an E number, which must
be listed by type and name and/or by number on food labels. Some examples
of food additives and foods in which they are used are shown below. Antioxidants
improve the keeping qualities of certain foods by preventing undesirable chemical
changes. Preservatives also improve keeping quality, but by inhibiting growth of
microorganisms. Emulsifiers and stabilizers improve the texture of foods.
Sweeteners improve palatability and reduce dental problems associated with
excess sugar intake.
Additive
Comments
Often used in
Antioxidants
E
3 0 0 - 3 0 2
L-ascorbic acid/ascorbates (vitamin C)
Fruit drinks
E
3 0 7
Synthetic alpha-tocopherol
Cereal-based baby foods
E
3 2 2
Lecithins
Low-fat spreads
Colours
*E
1 0 2
Tartrazine (yellow/orange)Soft drinks
Soft drinks
*Ei
0 4
Quinoline yellow (greenish/yellow)
Smoked fish
E
1 6 0
Carotenes/Annatto (orange)
Cheese
Emulsifiers and stabilizers
E
4 0 6
Agar (extracted from seaweed)
Ice cream
E
4 1 2
Guar gum (extracted from cluster beans)
Packet soups
E
4 4 0
Pectin (occurs naturally in fruits
and plants)
Jams, preserves
Preservatives
*E
2 1 0 - 2 1 9
Benzoic acid/benzoates
Fruit products
*E
2 2 0 - 2 2 7
Sulphur d ioxide/sulphites
Meat products
*E
2 4 9 - 2 5 2
Nitrites/nitrates
Cooked and cured meats
Sweeteners
*E950
Acesulfame-K
Baked goods, dairy products,
confectionery
*E951
Aspartame
Carbonated drinks,
sugar substitutes
*E954
Saccharin
Sugar substitutes, chewing gum
*Warning: may produce reactions in susceptible people
such as tartrazine, may be a contribu-
tory factor in
behavioural problems in
children
,
but this is difficult to confirm.
food allergy
An inappropriate or exaggerated reac-
tion of the
immune system
to a food.
Sensitivity to cows’ m ilk protein is a
fairly common food allergy in young
children. Other foods that are com-
monly implicated in food allergy are
nuts (particularly peanuts), wheat, fish,
shellfish, and eggs. Food allergy is more
common in those who suffer from other
forms of
allergy
or
hypersensitivity
,
such
as
asthma
,
allergic
rhinitis
,
and
eczema
.
Immediate reactions, w hich occur w ith-
in an hour (or sometimes only minutes)
of eating
the
trigger foods,
include
swelling of the lips, tingling in the
mouth or throat, vomiting, abdominal
distension,
abnormally
loud
bowel
sounds,
and diarrhoea.
Serious food
allergies can cause
anaphylactic shock
,
w hich requires immediate self-injection
with
adrenaline
(epinephrine). The only
effective treatment for food allergy is
avoidance of the offending food. (See
also
food intolerance
. )
food-borne infection
Any infectious illness caused by eating
food contaminated w ith viruses, bacte-
ria, worms, or other organisms.
There are two mechanisms by w hich
food can become infected. Firstly, many
animals that are kept or caught for food
may harbour disease organisms in their
tissues or organs; if meat or m ilk from
such an animal is eaten without being
thoroughly cooked or pasteurized, the
organisms may cause illness in their
human host. In the UK, the only com-
mon
infection
of this
type
is
food
poisoning
.
Secondly, food may be conta-
minated with organisms spread from an
infected person or animal, usually by
flies moving from faeces to food (see
Foodpoisoning
box overleaf).
Im m unization
is
available
against
certain food- and
water-borne infections
,
such as
typhoid fever
.
food challenge
The controlled reintroduction into the
diet of a food suspected of causing
symptoms. Food challenges are usually
attempted after a person has already
been following an
exclusion diet.
food fad
A like or dislike of a particular food or
foods that is taken to extremes. A food
fad may lead to undue reliance on, or
avoidance of, a particular food. Fads are
common in toddlers, adolescents, and
people who are under
stress
.
W hen a
food fad becomes obsessive or persis-
tent, however, it may indicate a serious
eating disorder. (See also
anorexia ner-
vosa
;
bulimia
. )
food intolerance
An adverse reaction to a food or an
ingredient of food that occurs each
time an individual eats the substance.
Food intolerance does not have a psy-
chological cause; it is not the result of
F
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