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DTE 101 Food Additive Research Assignment  

Fall 2015 DTE students! This guide will help you complete your Food Additive paper and presentation.
Last Updated: Sep 21, 2015 URL: Print Guide
Learn about food additives Print Page

Start: Background sources

A background source provides a summary of what is known about a topic.  Use these sources if you want to know about food additives in general (the history, science, economics, environmental & public health concerns, etc.) or about a specific food additive's use and impact.

  • 1001 Chemicals in Everyday Products
    This is a reference book at the East Library. Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk if you need help finding it. The call number is TP 200 .L49 1999.
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America
    This is a reference book in two volumes at the East Library. It has a really thorough section on the history of food additives in the U.S. Ask at the Reference Desk if you need help finding it. The call number is TX 349 .E45 2004.
  • Edible Structures: The Basic Science of What We Eat
    Use this book to understand the purposes of food additives and the development of FDA regulations. How did GRAS (generally-recognized-as-safe) come to be? What's an edible film? What do carageenans do? And more. Ask at the Reference Desk if you need help finding this in the Circulating Collection, call number: TX 551 .A38 2013.
  • Dictionary of Food Ingredients
    This is a reference book at the East Library. Use it to get definitions of all kinds of additives and how they are used in commercial food manufacturing. Ferrous lactate, guar, hesperidin, textured vegetable protein, and hundreds more. Ask at the Reference Desk if you need help finding it. The call number is TX 155 .I26 2011.
  • Controversies in Food and Nutrition
    This book has a chapter on food additives: how many pounds of additives does an average American eat in one year? What's up with FD&C Red Dye #2? Is there any research to support the claims about allergic reactions to MSG or carcinogenic effects of aspartame? Ask at the Reference Desk in you need help finding it in the Circulating section. The call number is TX 355.5 .G65 2002.

Next: Food & Drug Adminstration (FDA)

Food and color additives are regulated by the FDA.  Learn about approved uses, legal regulations, and the food types in which you will find the food additive you are researching. 

  • FDA Food Additive Status List
    An alphabetical list of approved food additives. You will need to look at the ABBREVIATIONS USED sections (there are 3) to understand the details about each additive that this source provides.
  • FDA Color Additive Status List
    This list works the same way as the Food Additive Status List. To understand the abbreviations used for each color additive, refer to the ABBREVIATIONS USED sections in the Food Additive Status List.
  • FDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 21
    Use this source to get more detail about why, how, and in what foods your additive is used. Type the Part and Section Numbers for your additive into the small search box in the Search Database section to get to the relevant regulation. How do you know which Part and Section numbers to look for? You will find these numbers for each additive in the Food/Color Additive Lists (links above).

MLA Style: Formatting & Citing Sources

Last: Research articles. Use "Search All"

Finding the right research article from the thousands available to you through the Library is a lot easier when you have a basic familiarity with your topic.  So first, use background sources to get the big picture and check the FDA uses and regulations for the technical details.  Then you will be much better prepared to search for, find & understand the research and integrate it usefully into your paper and presentation.

  • Use "Search All" to find articles
    Select "Search All" on the library home page and enter the name of your food additive in the search box. (Don't use the "Articles" search--it doesn't access the most useful databases for this project.) Select the limiters "full text" and "peer reviewed," then click Search. Once you are on the results page, there are a lot of options to narrow down a huge list of articles.The video tutorial below will help.
  • Tutorial Video for Search All
    Here's a short video (plays best in Internet Explorer) demonstrating how to use "Search All."

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