Chemical raw materials in the food industry
The quality of the food we eat every day has a huge impact on our health and well-being. Unfortunately, in today’s conditions, when we make purchases mainly in supermarkets, we can not afford 100% natural food. That is why the role of chemical raw materials in the food industry is so important. All the largest food production plants, such as breweries, mills, fruit and vegetable processing plants, dairies, bakeries, confectioneries and slaughterhouses use them. The main purpose of using chemical raw materials is to extend the freshness of the products. Thanks to their addition to food, we can eat it without worrying about health.
The use of chemical raw materials in the food industry
Over the past few years, food industry around the world has developed a lot. Manufacturers constantly compete with each other, inventing new types of food. Thanks to the diverse processing of products, one of them can be the basis for various dishes, snacks or additives. In addition to taste and appearance, manufacturers also often focus on long shelf life. By using chemical raw materials in the food industry, companies can more easily meet consumer expectations. Raw materials are used in the basic processes to which food is subject. They are used during washing, cleaning, fermentation, drying and pasteurizing food. In fact, they are used at every stage of food production, and it depends largely on them whether consumers will like the food. Chemical raw materials improve the appearance, taste and aroma of food products, and also preserve food by reducing its deterioration.
Sodium carbonate is one of the commonly used chemical raw materials in the food industry. Very often it appears on the packaging of products under the name E500. It has the consistency of a white, crystalline powder that dissolves well in water. In the wild, it can be found in sodium lakes, as well as the remains of marine plants. In the food industry, sodium carbonate is used for loosening products. It also maintains their proper pH and serves as an acidity regulator. Large amounts of this substance are found in baking powders. Sodium carbonate can also be used as an additive to products. We find it in jams, ice cream, pudding, butter, crackers and chocolate products. Although it is considered a safe substance, doctors and nutritionists recommend that you do not abuse it. In addition to the food industry, sodium carbonate is also used in the chemical industry and is one of the components of washing powders, soaps and shampoos.
Potassium chloride, i.e. the substance of formula E508 is a chemical raw material in the food industry, which acts as a preservative and acidity regulator. It is a colorless or white liquid, well soluble in water. Because it tastes the same as salt and causes the same saliva reaction, it is used in food production. Works great wherever manufacturers limit the content of sodium hazardous to health. Potassium chloride is most often used in meat processing. It is an important component of sausages, canned goods and chops. Unlike salt, it does not cause circulation problems and does not retain water in the body, thanks to which food producers reach for it more and more often. In addition to being used as a chemical raw material in the food industry, potassium chloride is also found as a component of a mixture of road salt, potassium fertilizers, fireworks, matches and in the pharmaceutical industry.
Coumarin is an organic chemical compound used in particular in the tobacco and spirits industries. It comes in the form of a white crystalline powder. In the wild, we can find it in dozens of plant species, e.g. cinnamon. In the food industry, coumarin is used as a masking substance for some odors. It is also used to dye various types of alcohol, including vodka, liqueurs and mulled wine. Unfortunately, excessive consumption of coumarin can cause unpleasant health consequences – even such serious diseases as cirrhosis and liver cancer. For this reason, the European Union has introduced restrictions for coumarin used as a chemical raw material in the food industry. The law indicates that its compactness in the product may not exceed two milligrams per one kilogram of the finished product. In the past, coumarin was also often used in the pharmaceutical industry as an anti-edema and antispasmodic component. Unfortunately, due to the toxicity of the substance, its use in medicines has been limited and today we use it mainly in food chemistry.
Ethyl lactate is another chemical raw material used in food chemistry. It is characterized by a mild, milky smell with a hint of fruit and coconut. The compound occurs naturally in many food products of animal and plant origin. We can find it, for example, in wine, chicken and some fruits. As a chemical raw material, they are used as a food additive. Thanks to the fact that it is safe for the environment and people, it can be used without fear for health. In addition to being used as a chemical raw material in the food industry, ethyl lactate is increasingly used in industry. It is used as a solvent and its effectiveness is similar to traditional hydrocarbon-based solvents. Thanks to its fragrance properties, it is used as a fragrance in the production of cosmetic and perfumed products.