A public safety campaign from the publishers of The Food Magazine
Action On Additives

What are food additives?

Food additives are found in the majority of the processed foods and drinks which we consume in the UK. They are used to make food look and taste more attractive and to prevent food going mouldy or stale.

Some additives are used to make dough rise quickly, or to blend fat and water together in products like margarine. Some are used to bulk out foods with added water or air, or to make fatty meat appear lean. Very few of these additives have any nutritional value.

There are currently 323 EU approved food additives allowed into food, drink and medicines in the UK. About 90% of these additives are used for cosmetic purposes, changing a food’s colour, flavour, appearance or texture.

Food additives must be listed as ingredients on packaged foods, drinks and medicines, either by their name or their E-number. However, ingredients lists are often written in very small writing, making it hard to see what is really in your food.

There are also around 2,500 flavouring additives allowed into food, drink and medicines in the UK. These commonly used additives do not have to be listed as seperate ingredients, and are simply described as 'flavourings' in ingredients lists.

Please click on the links below for more information.

For more information on food additives and flavourings, visit The Food Commission website at http://www.foodcomm.org.uk/

The Food Magazine is a quarterly magazine produced by The Food Commission. The magazine is essential reading for anyone who cares about what they, or their children, eat.

The Action on additives project is coordinated by The Food Commission (UK) Ltd, a public interest watchdog which campaigns for healthier, safer food in the UK


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If you want to be kept informed about food additives, please enter your email address below and press 'add email'. Your email address will not be passed to any third parties or marketing agencies and will only be used by the Action on Additives campaign.



Support the campaign

The Action on Additives campaign is funded by grants and public donations, and coordinated by the not-for-profit campaign group The Food Commission. To support the campaign, please use the button below to make a secure donation. Thank you.

Seven suspect additives card

If you would like a handy Action on Additives plastic card, listing the seven suspect additives, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the Action on Additives campaign, 94 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF. We can supply up to three free cards to any one address, so you can share the cards with your friends.

If you would like to purchase a larger number of the cards, please email Anna at anna@actiononadditives.com for details of cost.

You can also print a sheet of ten cards by clicking on the link below.
Print more cards

Do you work in the hospitality sector?

The Action on Additives campaign welcomes information from people working in restaurants, hotels or contract catering. If you can tell us more about the use of any of these additives in the hospitality sector, where such additives usually go unlabelled, please click here.