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Food additives

Food additives, both natural and synthetic, are used to make processed foods easier to use, or ensure food is preserved safely. All food additives must be approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Businesses are required to list food additives in the ingredients declaration on a food label by their class name followed by the name of the food additive or the food additive number, eg. Colour (Caramel I) or Colour (150a).

Common food additives include:

  • emulsifiers
  • flavour enhancers
  • preservatives
  • food acids
  • colourings
  • raising agents

All food additives must be approved by FSANZ after rigorous assessment to check their safety. They must also be used in the lowest quantity possible to perform their specific use.


Food additives do not need to be labelled for unpackaged foods or food in small packages with a surface area < 100cm2. The ingredients of a compound ingredient (including food additives), such as tomato sauce, don’t have to be listed if the compound ingredient makes up less than 5% of the final food.

However, if additives in the compound ingredient perform a purpose in the final food, they have to be declared in the statement of ingredients. In addition, certain food allergens must be declared at all times when present in food as an ingredient, including food additives.

See the list for additives approved by FSANZ.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

See > Production methods > Additives >MSG  

Find out more

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