Many food consumers are afraid of additives assuming that they are not neutral for the human body and can even pose a direct hazard to human health. The fact that average consumers demand the minimisation or even abandonment of adding any substances e.g. to processed meat shows that they are not fully informed of the role and process and nutritional functions that food additives perform. Allowed substances may be used only if their use is technologically justified and poses no hazard to human health or life.
Pursuant to the Food and Nutrition Safety Act (Journal of Laws 2006, No 171, item 1225), an allowed additive is a substance which is not usually separately consumed as food, which is not a typical food ingredient, whether or not it has any nutritional value; the intentional technological use of which in the production, processing, preparation, packing, transportation, and storage processes causes or may cause this substance to become a direct or indirect ingredient of a foodstuff or intermediate products that are its components. Allowed substances may be used only if their use is technologically justified and poses no hazard to human health or life. This formulation includes typical chemical substances, nature-identical substances, chemical modifications of natural raw materials, and some natural substances.
Ingredients added to food which within the meaning of food additives terminology are a group of substances other that typical additives, added intentionally when manufacturing the product in line with good manufacturing practice, present in the final product even in a changed form. Their use raises no reservations, and thus these substances are not marked with the E symbol.
The group of food additives is supplemented by processing aids. Within the meaning of the above-mentioned act, these are substances which are not consumed as a food ingredient and are intentionally used in the processing of raw materials, foodstuffs, or their ingredients to achieve the intended technological purpose in the production process, and which may cause unintended but technically inevitable presence of their residues or derivatives in the final product in amounts which are not hazardous to health and do not perform any technological function in the final product.
Additives in meat processing are primarily used to: