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Ingredients for short rib soup

In a general sense, an ingredient is a substance which forms part of a mixture. In cooking, recipes specify which ingredients are used to prepare a dish. Many commercial products contain secret ingredients purported to make them better than competing products. In the pharmaceutical industry, an active ingredient is the ingredient in a formulation which invokes biological activity.

The ingredient list on a can of marrowfat peas. Besides peas, the product also contains water, salt, and the antioxidant E385

National laws usually require prepared food products to display a list of ingredients and specifically require that certain additives be listed. Law typically requires that ingredients be listed according to their relative weight within the product.[1]


From Middle French ingredient, from Latin ingredientem, present participle of ingredior (“to go or enter into or onto”).

Artificial ingredient[edit]

An artificial ingredient usually refers to an ingredient which is artificial or human-made, such as:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide". Food and Drug Administration. April 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2015.