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An Overview on Applications and Side Effects of Antioxidant Food Additives

Fernando Lidon, Maria Manuela Silva.

Antioxidant food additives are substances that can be added to foodstuff, in small amounts. The aim is to avoid oxidation of food products, thereby improving its durability. Authorized by the European Union Law there are more them fifty food additives with antioxidant technologic functions. On food products, two main oxidation processes prevail: (i) enzymatic oxidation of fruits, vegetables, and processed derivatives like juices, soft drinks, jellies and jams; (ii) oxidation and rancidity of spreadable fats and cooking fats and oils. Consequently, food technology uses soluble antioxidants in fats or in water, to prevent oxidation of various types of foodstuffs. Although some of these food additives are harmless when used in small quantities (e.g., the authorized amounts), the use of others might have risks to human health. Among side effects that can occur, stands out skin rashes and itching, urticarial and eczema, breathing difficulty, sneezing, gastrointestinal upsets, cholesterol in blood, hyperkinesis. This work is a synoptic review of food additives used as antioxidants authorized in the European Union, considering their characteristics, applications and side effects.

Key words: Antioxidants; Applications of antioxidants; Food additives; Side effects of antioxidants.

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