Just what do food additives add?

Feb 7, 2012

Ever looked at the labels on the back of your packaged food?

This week on Field Notes, a conversation with food scientist Dr. Kantha Shelke about the history of food additives.

Additives are constantly under fire in the health world and there is a lot of inconclusive evidence suggesting strange sounding food additives contribute to conditions like cancer, ADHD or basic headaches. But the jury is still out out.

"As a scientist, I can tell you, we don’t know," Shelke said. "We know that the food that we are consuming has historically been safer than ever before. We also know that it has been very nutritious. What we don’t know is what are the long term effects of consuming foods that have so many additives that we have never consumed in our past history."

Shelke and her team even conducted a study that found that sometimes color additives affect the way we taste our meals.

So, just what is all that stuff that's added in to our food?