What's an additive? It is a good question, especially when considering the health and diversity of the world's 'additive' sector. Canadian food and drug regulations define them as "substances that, when added to food, can become part of the food or alter its characteristics, with the exception of mineral nutrients and vitamins (which are added to enhance the nutritional value of food), spices, seasonings, flavourings, agricultural chemicals, and substances added to the packaging material." Clear? Not really. Maybe it would be better to ask academics what they think. Take this definition from Princeton University, of the USA's Ivy League: "An additive to food intended to improve its flavour or appearance or shelf-life". It is a simple explanation, and maybe for such a diverse industry, simplicity had best suffice. This month's briefing provides a concise and useful summary of the additives industry in each of the world's major regions.