What makes good food? Of course, we expect it to be tasty. We want it to be attractive in appearance, colour and aroma. And we want it to be nourishing, long-lasting and safe.
When food is made at home, in large households and in the food industry, additives are commonly used to boost these features. Many additives are naturally occurring, some are manufactured synthetically.
In the EU, additive legislation governs the use of additives. The permitted additives, their intended uses and any specific maximum quantities are stated on a list of additives. Before a substance can be approved for inclusion on the list of additives, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluates the safety of the substance on the basis of scientific study material and specifies an approved daily amount. If an approved substance may have harmful effects when it is used in large quantities, an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) value is determined.
Additives are always used in a considered manner in the food industry. When recipes are developed, the legal maximum quantities of additives are taken into consideration. In general, Atria uses significantly smaller quantities of additives in its products than the legally permissible amounts. Additives are used in Atria's products to increase product safety, improve the structure, colour and flavour of the food, and ensure that these characteristics and the nutritional quality of the food are preserved for the entire shelf life.
ADI specifies the maximum amount of a substance that people can safely use every day of their lives without harming their health. ADI is stated in terms of milligrammes per kilogramme of body weight per day. As the value is the same for adults as it is for children, it is easier for small children to exceed the ADI value. However, a large margin of safety is calculated into the ADI value, ensuring that ADI values are rarely exceeded. When care is also taken to eat a varied diet, there is little danger of exceeding the ADI value.
Additives are listed under their group names on packaging. This indicates the purpose of the additive in the product. In addition to this, the name or E number of the additive is listed. E numbers mean that the substance has been approved for use in the European Union. If an additive is suspected of causing allergies, the packaging includes a warning of this in accordance with legislation. Additives must not be used in fresh, unprocessed meat. A list of E numbers can be found on the website of the Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira).