Collins
World English Dictionary
food additive
 
n
any of various natural or synthetic substances, such as salt, monosodium glutamate, or citric acid, used in the commercial processing of food as preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, etc, in order to preserve or add flavour, colour, or texture to processed food

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

food additive

any of various chemical substances added to foods to produce specific desirable effects. Additives such as salt, spices, and sulfites have been used since ancient times to preserve foods and make them more palatable. With the increased processing of foods in the 20th century, there came a need for both the greater use of and new types of food additives. Many modern products, such as low-calorie, snack, and ready-to-eat convenience foods, would not be possible without food additives.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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