Food additives are essential to provide high quality foods with characteristics that are acceptable to consumers. Additives preserve the nutritional quality of food, enhance the quality or stability of a food, and/or aid in the manufacturing, processing, or storage of the food.
Core to the definition of food additives is that they are intentionally added to perform a specific technological purpose such as preventing oxidation or emulsifying different components of the food that would otherwise separate.
Safety of each additive for the relevant consumer group must be proven before any authority permits its use.
There is a widely agreed principle that the use of food additives in formulas for infants should be restricted as much as possible. This has been enabled by technological advances. To achieve the lowest possible use level of a given additive, it is important to have a variety of additives in the same functional class permitted for use.