Incidental or indirect food additives

A food additive, in the general sense, is "...a substance or mixture of substances, other than a basic food stuff, that is present in food as a result of any aspect of food production, processing, storage, or packaging. The term does not include chance contaminants."

Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling with vinegar, salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulphur dioxide as with wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, many more additives have been introduced.

A substance may be present in a food which have no planned function in food, but become part of it during some phase of processing, packaging, or storing. Such substances have been called incidental additives.

For instance, minute amounts of packaging substances may find their way into foods during storage. Food packaging manufacturers must prove to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that all materials coming in contact with food are safe before they are permitted for use in such a manner. The pesticide residues, mycotoxins and components of packaging are the most common incidental additives.

Since its presence serves no useful purpose in the final food product, such a substance may be considered to be an incidental additive, e.g., food may pick up material from a wrapper or a container, either by dissolving it out or by abrasion from the container into the food.
Incidental or indirect food additives

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