Food Additives and Human Health


Author(s): Devasahayam Jaya Balan and Kasi Pandima Devi

Pp: 212-232 (21)

DOI: 10.2174/9789811446139120010014

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Emulsifiers are high molecular weight surface-active agents that facilitate the formation and stabilization of emulsions. They are used in food products to obtain uniform quality with improved texture and long shelf life. They are commonly found in packaged and prepared foods, such as baked goods, soft drinks, candies, gums, whipped creams, biscuits, breads, ice creams and margarines. Emulsifiers, in food products, allow uniform blending by reducing the interfacial tension between different phases like water, oil and gases. Their wide applications have established the presence of emulsifiers in nearly all food products and have also advanced the food processing techniques. However, the stability of emulsifiers can be affected by the salt content and pH variations in food emulsions. Emulsifiers, produced by biological systems, such as microorganisms and yeast, are called bio-emulsifiers which are also used in various food products. The synthetic emulsifiers pass through the body without being metabolized, whereas naturally occurring molecules are metabolized in the body. Worldwide, about 500,000 metric tons of emulsifiers are produced and sold. The legislation on emulsifiers governs their safety assessment, authorisation, use and labelling. The food legislation community aims to establish the right balance between the risks and benefits of substances that are used intentionally and to reduce the contaminants in accordance with consumer protection. In the food industry, many emulsifiers are used without any evidence of harmful effects that were confirmed by various safety analyses. The current review focuses on the food emulsifiers which play an indispensable role in the production of food products with the highest quality.

Keywords: Bio-emulsifiers, Emulsifiers, Food additives, Health effects, Legislation.

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