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The use of food additives (FAs) in food manufacturing is a well-accepted practice worldwide. Inadequate knowledge concerning their safety may cause negative attitude surrounding their use. This would potentially impact the purchase of foods that the consumer perceives as containing FAs. This study aimed to assess knowledge and attitudes of consumers towards the use and safety of FAs in the UAE. A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online survey distributed via social media platforms (n = 1037). Less than one-third of the participants (26.7%) in this study stated that they knew what FAs are. About half the respondents believed that organic products did not contain FAs. The proportion of respondents who reported that the purpose of adding FAs is to extend shelf life, better the taste and aroma of food, enhance nutritional value, improve consistency and texture, and boost appearance and color was 92.1%, 75.0%, 23.5%, 56.6%, and 69.4%, respectively. Around 61% believed that all FAs were harmful to human health. The level of FA knowledge increased with age and education level. About 60% of the respondents reported that food labels did not provide sufficient information about FAs. The most preferred platforms for consumers to receive information about FAs were social media (41.1%), followed by brochures (24.6%). Overall, the UAE population had inadequate knowledge and a hesitant attitude concerning FAs. The municipalities and food industry should play an active role in educating the public to prevent and reduce any possible adverse attitudes towards processed food products. Copyright: © 2023 Osaili et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Tareq M Osaili, Reyad S Obaid, Sanaa A I Alkayyali, Hind Ayman, Sara M Bunni, Shaema B Alkhaled, Fayeza Hasan, Maysm N Mohamad, Leila Cheikh Ismail. Consumers' knowledge and attitudes about food additives in the UAE. PloS one. 2023;18(3):e0282495

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PMID: 36877679

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