Food scientist, toxicologists and control officials mention food problems in the following decreasing order: microbial contamination of food, natural toxicants in food, environmental contamination of food and food additives. Food additives serve the interests of both the consumer and the producer of foodstuffs since they inhibit the spoilage of food, thus reducing the losses and enabling greater production at a lower cost. They increase the viability of the diet, make preparation of food more convenient and help stabilize the quality of food. Many countries require a toxicological analysis of any food additive which determines, in most cases, the average amount of a substance expressed in mg/kg of body weight which can be taken daily in the diet over a lifetime without risk considering all known factors.
It should be noted that food flavouring substances are different from food additives as there are several thousand flavouring substances which occur naturally. Most flavouring substances are identical substances to the tens of thousands which have been detected in the flavouring component of natural foods such as fruits, spices, vegetables, milk and meat products. The natural flavouring component of foods is invariably an extremely complicated mixture comprising a few dozen to several thousand different chemicals of natural origin.