Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Food Companies Find Ways to Hide Additives

YLE.fin, Mar. 2, 2011

Food companies are finding new ways to mark ingredients that would previously have been known by an e-number, as consumers get more wary of artificial additives.

The regulation of e-numbers has led to some strange behaviour, according to the director of the Finnish Food and Drink Industries Federation’s research and legislation department, Seppo Heiskanen.

Heiskanen says that a variety of plant and berry extracts are now used instead of e-numbers, but most of the same chemicals are still present in the final product. Heiskanen believes that such behaviour comes close to cheating consumers.

Another technique is to write an ingredient’s whole name, rather than the e-number by which it is usually known. Soya lecithin and Xantham gum can be added in this way.

These activities are a reaction to increased awareness of what food contains, and concern over ingredients seen as unnatural.

”At least some people are beginning to be concerned about where food comes from, and what has gone into it before it reaches the plate,” says Johanna Mäkelä, food culture researcher at the National Consumer Research Centre.

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