The term stabilizer, but also emulsifier, are clearly defined in food law. Both type of substances have to be authorized before use. They are categorised as food additives. Authorised food additives are clearly defined substances which have to fulfil strict purity criteria and maximum levels are fixed to protect the consumer. Above all there must be a technological need for their use and a clear benefit to the consumer.
Stabilizers are substances which make it possible to maintain the physico-chemical state of a foodstuff; stabilizers include substances which enable the maintenance of a homogenous dispersion of two or more immiscible substances in a foodstuff and include also substances which stabilize, retain or intensify an existing colour of a foodstuff.
Emulsifiers are substances which make it possible to form or maintain a homogenous mixture of two or more immiscible phases such as oil and water in a foodstuff.