Listed under names like “sodium phosphate,” “calcium phosphate” and “phosphoric acid,” there are 45 different phosphate-containing food additives used in hundreds of processed foods, and unless you’re a dedicated ingredient-list reader, you’d have no idea they’re there. Food companies aren’t required to list phosphate levels on the “Nutrition Facts” panel on packaged foods—they’re not even required to analyze foods for phosphate levels at all.
Phosphate additives are present in many types of fast food, which are eaten mainly by persons of lower socioeconomic status.
Phosphate additives also play an especially important role in the meat industry, where they are used as preservatives. They are also used as a component of melting salts in the production of soft cheeses and are found in flavoured soft drinks and powdered products.