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Food Ingredients

Welcome to the International Food Information Council Foundation Food Ingredients Hot Topics page. Here you will find a wide selection of science-based resources on food ingredients, including: caffeine, low-calorie sweeteners, food colors, flavorings, polyols (aka sugar alcohols), and other approved food additives and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) ingredients.

For a list of caffeine resources, please visit the Caffeine Hot Topics Page

For a list of low-calorie sweetener resources, please visit the Low-Calorie Sweeteners Hot Topics Page.

Food Ingredient Resources

  • Observational Study Does Not Show Causal Relationship between Diet Soda Consumption, Risk of Heart Disease | 3/31/2014

    An unpublished study regarding diet soda consumption and heart disease risk in postmenopausal women contributes nothing new to the scientific evidence regarding the safety of low-calorie sweeteners. Its promotion ahead of the peer-review process increases the chance that incomplete or inaccurate information will be taken as fact, leading to unnecessary confusion among consumers. more »

  • Questions and Answers about Carrageenan in Food | 2/25/2014

    Carrageenan (“care-ah-gee-nun”) is a naturally-occurring food ingredient extracted from red seaweed. It is a starch-like product that has been used in food for hundreds of years for its ability to form gels, thicken solutions, and stabilize products. These functions help to provide better-tasting, more palatable food choices. more »

  • Background on Azodicarbonamide and Its Use in Bread | 2/10/2014

    Here's everything you need to know about azodicarbonamide and its use in bread. more »

  • Questions and Answers about Caramel Coloring and 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI or 4-MI) | 1/22/2014

    The compound 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI or 4-MI) is a byproduct formed in certain foods and beverages during the normal heating and browning process and possibly as a byproduct of fermentation. It is a naturally occurring compound in caramel coloring and roasted and cooked foods. 4-MEI is not added to food. more »

  • Hot Topic: Food Colors | 10/28/2013

    The following resources provide science-based information regarding common questions about food colors, such as what they are and common foods containing them, how they are regulated in the United States, and whether they cause hyperactivity in children. more »

  • Facts about Low-Calorie Sweeteners | 9/3/2013

    Low-calorie sweeteners (sometimes referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners, artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes) are ingredients added to food to provide sweetness without adding a significant amount of calories. In fact, they can also play an important role in a weight management program that includes both good nutrition choices and physical activity. more »

  • European Food Safety Authority Releases Draft Scientific Opinion on Aspartame and Requests Public Comment | 1/9/2013

    The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) launched a public consultation on its draft scientific opinion on the safety of the low-calorie sweetener aspartame. EFSA's scientific experts have drawn upon all available information on aspartame and its breakdown products and, following a detailed and methodical analysis, concluded in this draft opinion that aspartame poses no toxicity concern for consumers at current levels of exposure. more »

  • Videos Give the Real Scoop on Low-Calorie Sweeteners | 10/24/2012

    Low-calorie sweeteners (also sometimes referred to as artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes)provide consumers with a broad selection of safe, low-calorie, good-tasting foods, and offer a sweet alternative for people with diabetes (as well as those with a sweet tooth). They can also play a role in a weight management plan that incorporates healthful food choices and regular exercise. more »

  • Sweet Taste, Without The Calories | 9/13/2012

    Trying to cut back on calories or carbohydrates (carbs) but like foods that taste sweet? Try non-nutritive sweeteners! They are commonly called sugar substitutes, no-calorie sweeteners, sugar replacements, artificial sweeteners or are referred to by their package color: pink, blue or yellow. more »

  • Food Safety: We're All in This Together | 9/6/2012

    Our Food and Health Survey indicates that while some Americans recognize that ensuring the safety of the US food supply is a shared responsibility across government, farmers/producers, the food/beverage industry, retailers and consumers; we recognize the opportunity to better understand the roles each of these entities play, as well as what consumers can do to ensure the food they provide their families is safe. We all have a role in ensuring that the US food supply is safe. more »

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IFIC Foundation Taste Test Challenge

To celebrate National Nutrition Month and the theme, "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right," the IFIC Foundation filmed our very own taste test challenge. Take a look, think you would have passed?