Types of Food Ingredients (FDA)

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Here is A list of Types of Food Ingredients listed by FDA ( Food and Drug Administration in the United States.

The following summary lists the types of common food ingredients, why they are used,
and some examples of the names that can be found on product labels. Some additives are
used for more than one purpose.

Types of Ingredients What They Do Examples
of Uses
Names Found
on Product Labels
Preservatives Prevent food spoilage from bacteria, molds, fungi, or yeast (antimicrobials); slow or prevent changes in color, flavor, or texture and delay rancidity (antioxidants); maintain freshness Fruit sauces and jellies, beverages, baked goods, cured meats, oils and margarines, cereals, dressings, snack foods, fruits and vegetables Ascorbic acid, citric acid, sodium benzoate, calcium propionate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, calcium sorbate, potassium sorbate, BHA, BHT, EDTA, tocopherols (Vitamin E)
Sweeteners Add sweetness with or without the extra calories Beverages, baked goods, confections, table-top sugar, substitutes, many processed foods Sucrose (sugar), glucose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), neotame
Color Additives Offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; correct natural variations in color; enhance colors that occur naturally; provide color to colorless and “fun” foods Many processed foods, (candies, snack foods margarine, cheese, soft drinks, jams/jellies, gelatins, pudding and pie fillings) FD&C Blue Nos. 1 and 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red Nos. 3 and 40, FD&C Yellow Nos. 5 and 6, Orange B, Citrus Red No. 2, annatto extract, beta-carotene, grape skin extract, cochineal extract or carmine, paprika oleoresin, caramel color, fruit and vegetable juices, saffron (Note: Exempt color additives are not required to be declared by name on labels but may be declared simply as colorings or color added)
Flavors and Spices Add specific flavors (natural and synthetic) Pudding and pie fillings, gelatin dessert mixes, cake mixes, salad dressings, candies, soft drinks, ice cream, BBQ sauce Natural flavoring, artificial flavor, and spices
Flavor Enhancers Enhance flavors already present in foods (without providing their own separate flavor) Many processed foods Monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate or inosinate
Fat Replacers (and components of formulations used to replace fats) Provide expected texture and a creamy “mouth-feel” in reduced-fat foods Baked goods, dressings, frozen desserts, confections, cake and dessert mixes, dairy products Olestra, cellulose gel, carrageenan, polydextrose, modified food starch, microparticulated egg white protein, guar gum, xanthan gum, whey protein concentrate
Nutrients Replace vitamins and minerals lost in processing (enrichment), add nutrients that may be lacking in the diet (fortification) Flour, breads, cereals, rice, macaroni, margarine, salt, milk, fruit beverages, energy bars, instant breakfast drinks Thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin, niacinamide, folate or folic acid, beta carotene, potassium iodide, iron or ferrous sulfate, alpha tocopherols, ascorbic acid, Vitamin D, amino acids (L-tryptophan, L-lysine, L-leucine, L-methionine)
Emulsifiers Allow smooth mixing of ingredients, prevent separation

Keep emulsified products stable, reduce stickiness, control crystallization, keep ingredients dispersed, and to help products dissolve more easily

Salad dressings, peanut butter, chocolate, margarine, frozen desserts Soy lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, egg yolks, polysorbates, sorbitan monostearate
Stabilizers and Thickeners, Binders, Texturizers Produce uniform texture, improve “mouth-feel” Frozen desserts, dairy products, cakes, pudding and gelatin mixes, dressings, jams and jellies, sauces Gelatin, pectin, guar gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, whey
pH Control Agents and acidulants Control acidity and alkalinity, prevent spoilage Beverages, frozen desserts, chocolate, low acid canned foods, baking powder Lactic acid, citric acid, ammonium hydroxide, sodium carbonate
Leavening Agents Promote rising of baked goods Breads and other baked goods Baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate
Anti-caking agents Keep powdered foods free-flowing, prevent moisture absorption Salt, baking powder, confectioner’s sugar Calcium silicate, iron ammonium citrate, silicon dioxide
Humectants Retain moisture Shredded coconut, marshmallows, soft candies, confections Glycerin, sorbitol
Yeast Nutrients Promote growth of yeast Breads and other baked goods Calcium sulfate, ammonium phosphate
Dough Strengtheners and Conditioners Produce more stable dough Breads and other baked goods Ammonium sulfate, azodicarbonamide, L-cysteine
Firming Agents Maintain crispness and firmness Processed fruits and vegetables Calcium chloride, calcium lactate
Enzyme Preparations Modify proteins, polysaccharides and fats Cheese, dairy products, meat Enzymes, lactase, papain, rennet, chymosin
Gases Serve as propellant, aerate, or create carbonation Oil cooking spray, whipped cream, carbonated beverages Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide


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