E

NUMBERS

IN YOUR
FOOD & DRINK

 

 

E-Numbers

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This Guide lists allergies, illnesses and other medical
problems reported against some food additives.


This list is not intended to be a detailed encyclopedia of additives - although most E-Number names are listed on the page of Additives Names - see button below.

WHY USE ADDITIVES ?

Additives have been added to food since ancient times. Salt, sugar, vinegar and alcohol were used to preserve foods for storage during periods of scarcity. Sun Drying and Smoking also preserved foods. Now a large selection of natural & chemical additives are also used to -

  • Keep food fresh, stable and safe.
  • Improve texture and consistency.
  • Improve appearance and taste.

Many additives are completely natural, although not always good for us. Eating excesses of sugar or salt are good examples.

In the European Union, all food and drink products which include additives must include the letter ‘E’ before the additive number on all packaging. This indicates the additive has been approved or considered for use, by the EU - but it does not necessarily mean it is good for all of us. Each number specifies a particular additive, with blocks of numbers allocated to categories of additives with particular purposes. E-numbers were first introduced in Europe but are now used worldwide, although there is not total agreement about the safety of some of the additives, with some countries banning the use of certain numbers.

The list below shows most of the groups of additive functions and their numbers.

E100-E180 - Colours
E200-285 and E1105 - Preservatives
E300-E321 and E586 - Antioxidants
E420, E421, E953-E962 - Sweeteners
E322, E400-E495 and E1103 - Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents
E260-E297, E325-E385, E422-E459, E500-E585, E620-E650, E900-E999, E1200-E1204, E1404-E1452, E1505-E1520 - Acid, acidity regulators, anti-caking agents, anti-foaming agents, bulking agents, carriers and carrier solvents, emulsifying salts, firming agents, flavour enhancers, flour treatment agents, foaming agents, glazing agents, humectants, modified starches, packaging gases, propellants, raising agents and sequestrants  
 

Test Tubes

There is considerable controversy regarding the use of additives in food, with the European Union and Manufacturers generally claiming they are safe, while some Nutritionists and Food Allergy Specialists maintaining some may be the cause of ill health. It is also sometimes difficult to weed out claims from some individuals and groups who have an interest in decrying additives for various dietary, business or ideological reasons. The publisher of this web site takes no side in this matter, but simply provides you with a list showing the most commonly reported illnesses and side-affects.

The details included on these pages may be subject to change.

Click on the E-Numbers below to view problems which may be
associated with them.


 

If the products on the food labels don't give an 'E' number, try looking at the additive names -
Click on 'E-Number Names' below.

E Number Names