Gums and hydrocolloids represent a unique category of food additives. The various types of carbohydrates represented in this category provide many desirable functional properties and important characteristics in foods. Some of those properties include smooth textures, consistent rheological features, finished product stability, and possibly caloric reduction and modulation of the gut microflora. These food additives, many of which are extracted from natural sources, have a history of safe use in the food supply, as noted by numerous food regulatory agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives Combined Compendium of Food Additive Specifications.
Roger A. Clemens, DrPH, is cofounder and executive vice president of PolyScience Consulting, Chatsworth, California. He is part-time faculty within the University of Southern California International Center for Regulatory Science program where he enjoys an adjunct appointment as Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences within the USC School of Pharmacy. He co-founded, established and contributes to a Food, Medicine and Health column published monthly in Food Technology since 2004. Dr Clemens was a member of the USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Peter Pressman, MD, MS, FACN, is vice president, Medicine Public Health & Nutrition at The Daedalus Humanitarian, Mt. Vernon, Virginia. Dr Pressman has been continuously active in both internal medicine and surgical education, focusing on special topics in nutritional support. Dr Pressman currently serves on the Food Additive Task Force of the International Special Dietary Foods Industries (ISDFI) along with distinguished scientists representing the European Union and from the Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University. The task force is developing and publishing a science driven framework for the safety assessment of technologically justified food additives during early life.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Roger A. Clemens, DrPH, International Center for Regulatory Science, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California 1540 Alcazar St, CHP 140, Los Angeles, CA 90089 (firstname.lastname@example.org).