Chemicals in Food
Table of Content
- What is the Chemistry of Food?
- Chemicals in food to Avoid/ Harmful Chemicals in Food
- What are the Chemical Preservatives?
- Chemicals in Food Preservatives
- Chemicals in Food to Avoid
- Artificial Sweetners
Study of chemical processes in food including interaction between all biological and non-biological components is known as chemistry of food. The biological substances includes meat, poultry, lettuce, beer, and milk.
Chemicals are essential building blocks for everything. Similarly, food is made up of chemicals. Chemicals in food are harmless. But still some are harmful and have toxic effects.
Some harmful chemicals that are found in food are as follows:
Packaging material used for food packaging such as bisphenol A, styrene and vinyl chloride are toxic in nature. Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in reusable plastic food containers and the lining of food and beverage cans.
Fig. 1. Structure of bisphenol A
Phthalates is found in some plastic food containers. Its exposure is associated with early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.
Fig. 2. Structure of phthalates
Styrene is found in food trays, egg cartons, disposable cups etc. Styrene is an animal mammary carcinogen and is possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Fig. 3. Structure of Styrene
Vinyl Chloride is used to produce food packaging. It is designated as first carcinogen associated with increased mortality from breast cancer and liver cancer among workers involved in its manufacture.
Fig. 4. Structure of vinyl chloride
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used in food industries as preservative. It is used to prevent oil from being oxidized. It is a derivative of phenol.
Fig. 5. Structure of BHT
Chemicals that are added to food, beverages etc., and other products to prevent microbial growth or any undesirable changes. They are added to reduce the risk of food borne infections. For example, benzoic acid, ascorbic acid, gallic acid, nitrite, nitrate etc.
There are three classes of chemical preservatives that are used in food industry:
List of chemicals that should be avoided in food are:
High fructose corn syrup
Common food dyes
They are commonly known as sugar substitutes. They are added to food to give sweetening effects. They are effective for weight loss, diabetes, dental care etc. The most common artificial sweeteners are aspartame, saccharin etc.
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