Food additives are chemicals added to food products to enhance flavor, texture, or color. Fortunately, there is a list of food additives that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). In this guide, you’ll find an updated and comprehensive list of GRAS food additives.
Food classification is a tricky topic. There are so many different names for additives and preservatives, and it can be hard to keep track of them all. But that’s okay! The goal of this post is to help you understand the different types of food ingredients, food additives, and preservatives and what they do in food. It’s an important topic to understand because there are so many terms and acronyms! However, it’s critical to know what each term means because these ingredients can have a big impact on your health and the environment. So, let’s dive right in!
What Do GRAS, NDI, and ODI mean?
These terms can sometimes be confusing because they all have similar-sounding names.
GRAS stands for “Generally Recognized as Safe”, NDI stands for “New Dietary Ingredient” and ODI stands for “Old Dietary Ingredient”. To be used in conventional foods, ingredients must be classified as either GRAS, NDI, or ODI.
In this post, we will focus on the different types of food additives and preservatives which can be considered GRAS, NDIs, or ODIs. We’ll also be discussing what they do in food and how they can impact your health, as well as the environment.
What are Food Additives and Food Preservatives?
Food additives are used to improve the quality, safety, and longevity of foods by changing their color, flavor, or consistency. They may also be used to prevent spoilage (oxidation), reduce the microbial load, or improve the nutritional value of food products such as cereals or dairy products that have been processed using heat treatment technology (pasteurization).
Here is a list of the most common food additives:
- Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal), and saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
- Artificial colours (e.g. Red 40 dye)
- Food preservatives like sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate used in wine production
What are some of the Food Classification Complications?
You may have noticed that there are many different names for the same type of additive. For example, you might see “diglyceride” or “diglyceride esters” listed on a label and think they’re two different things when they’re the same thing. This is because FDA regulations allow manufacturers to use one name for an ingredient if it’s followed by another more specific type of name (e.g., shortening).
Another complication is that there are many types of food additives and preservatives, so knowing what each does can be confusing at first. Here’s a quick breakdown of some common categories:
- Preservatives prevent spoilage from microorganisms such as bacteria and mold in foods like cheese or spices; examples include sodium nitrite/nitrate and calcium propionate/propionic acid.
- Antioxidants help protect fats from going rancid (oxidizing) during storage; common ones include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).
- Stabilizers help keep ingredients mixed so they don’t separate over time; examples include carrageenan gum or xanthan gum.
How Are Additives and Preservatives Approved for Use in Foods?
Today, food and color additives are more strictly studied, regulated, and monitored than at any other time in history. FDA has the primary legal responsibility for determining their safe use. To market, a new food or color additive (or before using an additive already approved for one use in another manner not yet approved), a manufacturer or other sponsor must first petition FDA for its approval. These petitions must provide evidence that the substance is safe for how it will be used. As a result of recent legislation, since 1999, indirect additives have been approved via a premarket notification process requiring the same data as was previously required by petition.
When evaluating the safety of a substance and whether it should be approved, FDA considers:
- The composition and properties of the substance,
- The amount that would typically be consumed,
- Immediate and long-term health effects,
- Various safety factors.
The evaluation determines an appropriate level of use that includes a built-in safety margin – a factor that allows for uncertainty about the levels of consumption that are expected to be harmless. In other words, the levels of use that gain approval are much lower than what would be expected to have any adverse effect.
Does FDA have databases for GRAS ingredients and Food Additives?
YES! The FDA’s Food Additives Status List, formerly called Appendix A of the Investigations Operations Manual (IOM), organizes additives found in many parts of 21 CFR into one alphabetized list.
The Food Additives Status List includes short notations on use limitations for each additive.
The Food Additive Status List omits certain categories of additives, such as those that are considered GRAS and safe substances. You may find such substances in the GRAS Notice Inventory on the FDA website.
What is a GRAS List?
A GRAS list is a collection of substances, such as food additives, that have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and determined to be safe for use in food products. The FDA designates these substances as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) through an extensive review process. Once included on the GRAS list, the ingredient can be used in food products without requiring pre-market approval from the FDA.
What are the risks and benefits of each food additive?
When looking through the GRAS list of food additives, it’s important to remember that even though these ingredients are deemed safe for consumption, they may still have certain risks associated with them. For instance, some food additives contain preservatives or artificial sweeteners, which can potentially have adverse effects on long-term health. Therefore, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of each ingredient before you decide to use it in your food products.
What are the requirements for food additives in countries across the globe?
Before you use food additives in your products, it’s also important to check the regulatory information and requirements for various countries across the globe. Every country will have its list of accepted food additives, meaning it’s important that you double-check the safety status of each ingredient beyond just relying on the GRAS List. Take note of any regional differences and rules depending on where you are planning to export your food item – this will help to ensure compliance and safe usage.
Reference Documentation from Reputable Sources to Ensure the Accuracy of Safety Info:
To ensure the accuracy and safety of the ingredients in your product, it is essential to refer to reputable sources when sourcing information about food additives. Always look for documentation from reliable organizations such as the FDA or World Health Organization (WHO) when researching new ingredients. This way you can be sure that the safety data you have found is up-to-date and well-referenced, giving your product the best chance at success both domestically and internationally.
Analyze Data to Make Informed Decisions About Adding Food Additives to Products:
When researching food additives, it is important to do some data analysis to understand the safety implications of introducing a particular additive into your product. Look beyond the “GRAS” designation by evaluating scientific studies and reports regarding overall safety and potential health risks that may be brought on by consuming the additive. This will help you make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to proceed with using that ingredient in your product.
What is the Gras Notice Inventory System?
The Gras Notice Inventory System is an online resource administered by the USFDA that allows manufacturers and processors to submit their products for review before they are put on the market. It contains a listing of GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) substances and notifications submitted to the USFDA, which users can search by product category, active ingredients, date, or designation type. This system provides an efficient way for manufacturers and processors to understand and comply with regulatory requirements for their products.
Why should you stay up to date with the USFDA regulations?
Manufacturers and processors need to stay up to date with the USFDA regulations and the Gras Notice Inventory System. Failure to adequately comply with these regulations can result in costly fines or product recalls, which could negatively affect a business’s reputation and financial health. Additionally, Staying up to date on the latest changes ensures that products remain safe for consumption and are not inadvertently introduced into the market without proper testing or review.
How do you interpret and implement USFDA regulations in your business?
Once manufacturers or processors have obtained information about the Gras Notice Inventory System, it is important to understand how to interpret and implement these regulations promptly. Manufacturers should ensure that all processes, products, and ingredients comply with all relevant USFDA regulations. Additionally, they should conduct regular reviews of all procedures to ensure they remain compliant and address any changes that may occur to maintain safety standards.
What are the benefits of being compliant with the Gras Notice Inventory system?
Staying compliant with the Gras Notice Inventory system offers many benefits to manufacturers. This includes being able to confidently produce safe food and ingredients by USFDA standards, as well as having peace of mind that no shortcuts were taken which could potentially result in a major recall. Additionally, following these regulations will allow the manufacturer or processor to stay ahead of potential issues and decrease any risks associated with them.
Where can you access all the relevant information related to the Gras Notice Inventory system?
All the relevant information regarding the Gras Notice Inventory system can be found on the FDA’s website. You can search for specific notices and regulations related to the Gras Notice Inventory System through the “Search for GRAS Notices” option. Additionally, FDA posts updates and changes related to the system which are readily available on their site too. It is important to regularly review these updates as they can help you make sure that your processes remain compliant with USFDA standards.
What is a GRAS Notice Inventory System?
A GRAS Notice Inventory System is a database that stores and organizes information on Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) notices. A GRAS Notice is an evaluation carried out by the Food and Drug Administration to determine the safety of certain food ingredients, additives, and processing aids. The system allows users to quickly search for relevant GRAS notices, providing easy access to previously submitted notices. This makes it easier to stay compliant with industry regulations while ensuring quick access to relevant information.
How to manage multiple Gras Notices with one system?
A GRAS Notice Inventory System can help you manage multiple GRAS notices at once. With the system, users can combine different filters and search criteria to quickly scan a database of submitted notices. This allows them to easily find relevant GRAS notices within seconds, enabling them to easily keep track of all the GRAS notices they need. The system also comes with an intuitive user interface designed to make navigation easy, so users can take advantage of its powerful features without spending time learning how it works.
How to streamline your GRAS Inventory system regulatory compliance?
Streamlining your GRAS inventory system for regulatory compliance is easy and efficient when using the right systems. The GRAS Notice Inventory System allows you to quickly and easily search for relevant GRAS notices, filter them according to your needs, and monitor them for any updates or changes. It also generates automated reports for all of your notices, so that you can identify trends in compliance and have a full view of all your GRAS items at a glance. This simplifies the process and makes compliance easier than ever.
How to track your GRAS Notices, documents and regulations?
With the GRAS Notice Inventory System, you can easily track all your GRAS notices, documents, and regulations. The system allows you to filter and search for the relevant notices according to your needs and requirements. It also supports automated reporting so that you have a more comprehensive view of your records at all times. This makes compliance much easier, as you will have a central record of any changes or updates to the regulations governing GRAS notices.
Additional Reading about GRAS:
- Gras Certification in the Food Industry
- Benefits of a Self-Affirmed GRAS Dossier for your business
- Navigating the GRAS Process for food manufacturers
- FDA GRAS Status
- GRAS List for Food Additives food safety
- Everything to know about GRAS Ingredients
- Generally Recognized as Safe GRAS Guide
- FDA GRAS Notice & GRAS Database
- NDIN vs GRAS Certification
How Quality Smart Solutions can help:
We hope this post helped you understand food additives and preservatives a little better. There are many different kinds, and they can have a big impact on your health and the environment. If you want to learn even more, reach out to us today!
Please contact our team for more information on food classification, ingredient feasibility questions, ingredient submissions, and food labelling projects. Our specialists are here to help with the following services; Novel Food Notifications, SFCR License application, HACCP & PCP program, TMA License for Supplemented Foods, Nutrition Facts Table (NFT) Creation and label compliance!