Food Ingredients and Additives

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Is There Titanium Dioxide in Salad Dressings and Other Foods?

Titanium dioxide is something we associate with paint and industrial use, so it seems scary to contemplate its use in the food we eat. Titanium, after all, is a heavy metal. However, some titanium dioxide is used in foods such as ranch dressing and other creamy salad dressings, where it serves as a whitener. Is this chemical dangerous and can it cause cancer or heavy metal poisoning?

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What is Xylanase in the Food Industry?

Xylanase is any one of a class of enzymes produced by some microorganisms. These enzymes are involved in breaking down the hemicellulose in the cell walls of plants. Specifically, xylanase hydrolyzes a principal component of hemicellulose called xylan and arabinoxylan. Xylanase is used in the food industry for bread making, the production of corn starch, clarification of fruit juice and wine; animal feeds, and alcoholic fermentation.

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What's the Difference Between Seasonings and Flavorings?

Chefs seem to use these two terms interchangeably: seasoning and flavoring. The actual difference can be quite subtle, so why not just use one word? Can you both season and flavor a dish? The answer is yes.

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What Is Gum Arabic (aka Acacia Gum) In Foods?

Defining Acacia Gum, a.k.a. Gum Arabic

Often known as acacia gum, arabic or Gum Arabic is a hydrocolloid gum obtained from the Acacia trees, primarily of the species Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal. The sap exudes out of breaks or wounds in the bark of the tree. It can be dissolved in hot or cold water and forms a solution with up to 55% acacia gum. It is a neutral or slightly acidic salt of a six carbohydrate polysaccharide containing ions of calcium, magnesium, and potassium and the sugars galactose, rhamnose, arabinopyranose, glucuronic acid, and 4-o-methylglucuronic acid, along with a small amount of protein, which is very important to its properties in foods.

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Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate in Foods

Disodium guanylate (GMP) and disodium inosinate (IMP) are discussed together on this page because you will often find them used together in the same food product. They are part of a family of food additives that are vary similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG), the well-known flavor enhancer. As such, they are often used together with MSG, as the three ingredients can have a synergistic effect to enhance the flavor of a product.

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Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Other Sugar Alcohols in Food

If you've ever eaten sugar free candies, especially hard candies marketed to diabetics, then you may have had sugar alcohols. They are sweeteners like sorbitol, mannitol, malitol, xylitol, lactitol, and isomalt. Besides hard candies, they are also used in sugarless gum, cookies, and jams and jellies.

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7 Artificial or Nonnutritive Sweeteners Approved for Use In United States

The following is a basic overview of artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners that are allowed for use in the United States. Not all of these sweeteners are classified as food additives, which means that they do not all have to have proof of safety (to be explained). The word approved should be taken to mean "allowed," in this regard.

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FD&C Blue No. 2 Indigo Dye (Indigotine, Indigo Carmine)

FD&C Blue No. 2 is a synthetic food colorant (aka artificial color) with a dark blue or "Royal blue" color and is used in baked goods, cereals, snacks, ice cream, and candy. It has a much darker color than FD&C No. 1, which is greenish-blue.

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Difference Between Whole Wheat Flour, Graham, and Durum

Have You ever been confused by all the whole-grain hoopla? Lot's of people are.

The different terms are quite perplexing. One confusing area is the different words used for "flour" which all basically mean the same thing. One food may list "all-purpose flour". One may just list "flour".

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FD&C Yellow No. 6: Sunset Yellow Food Dye

FD&C Yellow no. 6 is a synthetic food colorant (food dye, food coloring) with a reddish-yellow hue used to color beverages, cereals bakery goods, confections, and ice cream. It is also used to color dietary supplements, oral and externally applied drugs, cosmetics, and as a pigment in printing inks. This dye is supplied in the form of orange-red crystals. Its common name is sunset yellow FCF and its molecular formula is C16H10N2Na2O7S2. It is permanently listed by the FDA as a certified food color additive.

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FD&C Blue No. 1: Brilliant Blue FCF Food Dye

FD&C Blue no. 1 is a synthetic food colorant (aka artificial color) with a greenish-blue hue used to color beverages, dairy powders, jellies, candies, condiments, icings, syrups, extracts, and many drugs and cosmetics. It is also used to color paper or paper board that comes into contact with foods. It is often used together with FD&C Yellow No. 5 to make green food coloring.

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Why Do Silica Gel Desiccant Packets Say DO NOT EAT When Silica is Added to Foods?

Silica is Actually Added to Foods, Yet Silica Gel Dissicant Packets Say DO NOT EAT

I came across a comment about Rachael Ray saying that everyone should make their own taco seasoning mix instead of using store-bought packets, because they are full of sodium and they contain silica, the same stuff found in those ant-desiccant packets that say DO NOT EAT. First, the sodium stuff is so very tasty. It comes from the salt, and it is what makes the taco seasoning taste good.

I doubt you'd make a taco seasoning mix without salt, and therefore without sodium. And if you try one of those low-sodium brands, you'd probably want to add salt to it. But, the silica, that sounds poisonous. Surely that shouldn't be in our food.

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Acetic Acid In Foods

The food additive acetic acid is an organic acid formed by the metabolism of nutrients and by vinegar fermentation. Along with its acetate salts, it is a normal metabolic intermediate produced by such bacteria as Acetobacter. It may also sometimes be synthesized de novo from carbon dioxide such as by microorganisms like Clostridium thermoaceticum. Acetic acid or acetates are present in most plant and animal tissues, in small amounts. In humans, it is involved in fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism, found as acetyl CoA. The molecular formula of acetic acid is CH3COOH. It appears as a clear colorless liquid and has a vinegar-like odor and a sharp, acid taste.

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What Is Guar Gum?

Guar gum is a common food additive used in foods as a thickener, stabilizer, and binder. It can be purchased as a powder for home use where it can be used in place of corn starch or other thickeners. It has around 8 times the thickening power of corn starch. It is useful in gluten-free cooking and can be added to gluten free doughs to help provide the stretch that would normally come from gluten.

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