A Guide to Food Additives - B

A Guide to Food Additives - B

Name Other Names Purpose Source

Baking Powder

Leavening agent, mixture of carbonate and weak acid, increases volume of baked goods and creates the bubbly effect in breads and cookies


Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda

Leavening agent, mixture of carbonate(base) and weak acids releases carbon dioxide to fluff pancakes, cakes and baked goods.



Balm mint, lemon balm

Plant attracts bees to make honey, flavoring for ice-cream, candies & teas,

Melissa plant found in Europe & Asia



Edible berries with sharp acidic flavor and used in ethnic foods, candies, drinks and jams to give a sour flavor

Berberis plant


Great basil

Normally used fresh in various ethnic foods for flavoring

Basil plant

Bay leaves

Sharp, fragrant & bitter spice, used in cuisines across the globe

Laurus nobilis plant


E901, cera alba

Coating cheese, glazing agent to prevent water loss, protective fruit surfaces, gelatin capsules, natural chewing gum

Produced by worker bees in a beehive to store honey

Beet red

E162, Betanin, Beetroot red

Red food dye in ice cream, beverages, confectionery, candies, tomato & bacon products, sausages

Extracted from beets



Volcanic ash, phyllosilicate clay

Protein absorber used in white wine making during clarification and removing cloudiness

Mined in USA, China, Greece and other countries

Benzoic acid


E210, E211, E212, E213, Carboxybenzene, dracylic acid

White colorless solid, preservative that inhibits growth of mold, yeast and some bacteria, added to fruit juice, sparkling drinks, soft drinks, pickles & acidified foods


Benzoyl peroxide


E928, Benzac

Flour treating agent, oxidizes carotenoids in flour which changes its color from yellow to white



Citrus Bergamia, bergamot orange

Edible orange fruit, flavor for Earl Grey & Lady Grey teas, confectionery, marmalade, candy

Bergamot tree



E160e, Apocarotenal

Orange-red color, used in fatty foods such as sauces, dressings, drinks, dairy and sweet foods

Spinach, citrus fruits



E162, Beet red, Beetroot red

Red food dye in ice cream, beverages, confectionery, candies, tomato & bacon products, sausages

Extracted from beets



E230, Diphenyl, lemonene, BP

Antimicrobial food preservative

Synthetic, distilled from coal tar, crude oil & natural gas

Bison grass

Sweet grass, vanilla grass, holy grass, hierchloe odorata

Aromatic herb(coumarin, active aromatic) used in producing distilled beverages,

Synthetic, distilled from coal tar, crude oil & natural gas




Natural orange food color in trace amounts, soluble in fats and alcohol but insoluble in water

Found in annatto in seeds of achiote tree

Black cardamom

Amomum subulatum, Indian cardamom, hill cardamom, brown cardamom

Smokey & minty flavor & aroma used in savory(not sweet) ethnic dishes, especially Chinese, Indian & Vietnaamese

Zingiberaceae plant family

Black cumin

(Two plants)

Great pignut, earthnut


Black caraway, nigella, kalonji

Garnish, pastes, seasoning, flavoring, ethnic cuisines

Plant sources

Black limes

Dried lime, noom basra, loomi

Adds sourness to Middle Eastern & Persian foods, lacks sweetness of regular lime, earthy and smoky

Lime that has lost water content in the sun

Black pepper


Spicy hot(bioactive: piperine), aromatic(bioactive: rotundone), used to enhance flavor and aroma

Derived from peppercorn fruit

Black PN


E151, Brilliant Black PN, Food Black 1, Naphthol Black

Water soluble black food dye, used in desserts, sweets, ice-cream, jams, soft drinks, caviar and pastes.

Banned in US, Japan, Switzerland, Approved in EU.


Bleached starch

Starch, bleached, sub-class of modified starches

Emulsifier, stabilizer & thickener in desserts, pizza toppings, cheese sauces, industrial yogurt, low fat salami, Olestra,

Corn, maize

Bolivian Coriander

Porophyllum ruderale

Seasoning herb used in Mexican salsas and soups

Plant with same name


Starflower, Borago officinalis

Used in German & Italian recipes such as soups, fillings & pickles, garnishing cocktails

Borage plant



E285, Sodium borate, disodium tetraborate

Soft whtie crystals soluble in water, used as a preservative and adding rubbery texture to food.

Banned in USA, China and other countries


Brilliant blue FCF


E133, Acid Blue 9, Brilliant Blue FD, Blue #1, FD&C Blue No. 1

Blue coloring agent in ice-cream, cotton candy, canned foods, packed soups, food coloring, blueberry products, dairy, sweets, iceings,liqueurs and beverages, poorly absorbed in GI and 95% passes through


Brilliant Scarlet 4R


E124, Ponceau 4R, Brilliant Scarlet 3R, New Coccine

Heat & Light stable red dye

Used in Europe, Asia & Australia but not approved in USA

Synthesized from aromatic hydrocarbons



E943a, N-Butane, Liquefied Petroleum gas

Propellant in very small doses

Synthesized from aromatic hydrocarbons

Butylated hydroxyanisole


E320, BHA, BOA

Anti-oxidant & waxy solid added to edible fats & fatty foods to prevent rancidity and odors, scavenges free radicals in meat, beer, baked goods, dry beverage, dessert mixes, chewing gum

BHA in California is deemed as a carcinogen


Butylated hydroxtoluene


E321, BHT, DBPC, AO-29

Anti-oxidant in tiny amounts in "enriched rice" and poultry, preservative

Synthesized, Occurs in Phytoplankton(algae) and fruit lychee