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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. For the full entry on additive, visit Britannica.com.