Topic of the Month
1 December 2013
Micronutrients have many functions in the human organism. For example, they are needed to make macromolecules or as cofactors for essential enzymatic reactions. Micronutrient functions are based on their biochemical properties and are utilized in food technology. Many industrially processed foods contain additives that are in fact natural or nature-identical micronutrients. Their purpose is to improve the consistency of the food and to give it certain characteristics. Additives are selected based on their primary function in the finished food product. Micronutrients are usually used as antioxidants – to prevent oxidative processes that impair food quality – and as coloring agents to compensate for color lost during processing. Additives are generally labeled with E numbers. The use of additives in food is only permitted if it is technologically necessary, if they have been investigated and found to be harmless, and have passed inspection by the food safety authorities.