Don’t be easily fooled by “zero addition”

  Judging from the process of food production and processing, there is almost no food in the world today that does not contain additives.
  Today, “zero additives” has become an important signboard in the food industry. Many companies frequently play the banner of “zero additives”. For example, a certain brand of juice emphasizes no water, no sugar, and no additives, and another hawthorn juice is marked with “no preservatives and no coloring”. Many customers also really believe this, and “zero additives” products tend to sell more and sell faster.
  What is the concept of “zero addition”? Consumers believe that there is no additive in the food. However, no matter from the point of view of fact or scientific concept, “zero addition” is not rigorous, cannot withstand scrutiny, and is not true. Because food in modern society has to go through complex processes such as production, harvesting, transshipment, storage and processing, and can enter people’s tables and mouths, more or less containing additives.
  Some people think that whether it is food or other products, pure natural is the best. In fact, the standard of measuring the nutrition, safety and deliciousness of food is not only natural. One of the main purposes of food production and processing is to give full play to the value of food nutrition. Whether in China or abroad, the oldest additive in human food is salt, that is, salting meat to avoid spoilage. In some food safety incidents, unscrupulous manufacturers added substances that are not food additives to food, which made food additives notorious.
  Zero additives are neither scientific nor a gimmick, or even a promotion to appease consumers. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Joint Food Regulations Committee defines food additives as: food additives are intentionally added to food in small amounts to improve the appearance, flavor and organizational structure or storage properties of food non-nutrient substances. According to my country’s Food Safety Law, food additives are defined as: artificially synthesized or natural substances added to food to improve food quality, color, aroma and taste, and to meet the needs of antisepsis, freshness preservation and processing technology. Judging from the process of food production and processing, there is almost no food in the world today that does not contain additives.
  Today, there are 25,000 kinds of food additives in the world, and China has only approved more than 2,000 kinds, which is less than one-tenth. There are many types of these food additives, such as preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners, leavening agents, flavor enhancers, etc. Some of them are to ensure food safety. For example, sausage and bacon will use a little nitrite to preserve, its main function is to inhibit the growth and reproduction of botulism. Botulinum toxin can produce highly toxic botulinum toxin, which is more toxic than arsenic. Obviously, it is reasonable to use a little nitrite in meat processing, otherwise it may harm people due to botulinum toxin produced by meat decay.
  In July 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation issued the “Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Food Labeling (Draft for Comment)”, which stipulates the contents that cannot be marked on food labels, including “For substances that are not contained or used in food, “not added” ”Zero added”’does not contain’ or similar words to emphasize that it does not contain or is not used”. In 2020, the National Health Commission will conduct the second round of soliciting opinions on the “General Principles of Nutrition Labeling of Prepackaged Foods”, and the standardization of “zero additives” labeling is also mentioned. However, it is not illegal for food companies to mark “zero additives” at present, so many companies mark “zero additives” to cater to consumers’ psychology.
  In some cases, some manufacturers are already fooling consumers, saying that some foods that do not need to use additives are zero additives, such as pickled food (high salt), honey (high sugar), instant noodle cake (dry) Wait. These food microorganisms are difficult to enter, and the so-called “preservative-free” is a marketing tool.
  What consumers need to really care about is whether food additives are approved by food and health authorities. To judge whether a food is safe, first look at the types and dosages of food ingredients and food additives, and don’t be easily fooled by “zero additives”.