In foods, any of various chemical substances added to produce desirable effects. Additives include such substances as artificial or natural colourings and flavourings; stabilizers, emulsifiers, and thickeners; preservatives and humectants (moisture-retainers); and supplementary nutrients. Though many additives are harmless or even beneficial, others reduce nutritional value or conceal inferior raw materials or processing.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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