Emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents
Tuesday 9 October 2001
Emulsifiers help mix ingredients together that would normally separate - oil and water, for example.
Stabilisers prevent them from separating again. Both are particularly useful in making low-fat spreads, but they have many other uses in both sweet and savoury foods.
Examples include locust bean gum (E410) made from carob beans.
Gelling agents and thickeners: the most common gelling agent is pectin (E440), known to many from its use in jam-making. Thickeners do the same job as flour in sauces - they give body to food.
The Food Standards Agency carries out work on these additives to ensure that their presence in food does not compromise food safety.
The use of these four groups of food additives is controlled in Great Britain by the Miscellaneous Food Additives Regulations 1995 (SI 1995 No. 3187), as amended by SI 1997 No. 1413, SI 1999 No. 1136, SI 2001 No. 60, SI 2001 No. 3775 and SI 2003 No. 1008.
Similar legislation is in force in Northern Ireland. Please contact the Stationery Office for copies of these regulations. From 2000 separate amending regulations have been made in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 020 7276 8570.