Food additives and E numbers

Author: Hon. Assoc. Prof. Marius Rademaker, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2003.

Foods sold in the European Union (EU) have had full ingredient labelling since the mid-1980s. These include standard codes (E numbers) that accurately describe additives used in the production of food. These numbers are also used in Australia and New Zealand but without the E.

Many of these additives were once of natural origin. However, most are now prepared/produced synthetically as these are often less expensive than the natural product.

The more commonly used additives are included in Table 1 below, which lists the E-number, the proper name of the additive, a short description of the additive and its common use. As new uses are often found for these additives, the tables are neither inclusive nor exhaustive.

A full list of additives in the EU is published by the Food Standards Agency (United Kingdom). A similar list for Australia and New Zealand is published by the New Zealand Food Safety Association.

Numbers without an E prefix that are under consideration for becoming E numbers and commonly used additives have not yet been given numbers and are included in Table 2.

The tables are neither complete nor inclusive and may under go change as additives are re-classified.

Table 1: E numbers

NumberNameDescriptionExamples of Use
E100 Curcumin Naturally occurring orange/yellow colour, extracted from the spice turmeric Used in pastries, confectionery, sauces and soups
E101 Riboflavin or lactoflavin Naturally occurring B group vitamin usually obtained from yeast or produced synthetically. Enrichment and fortification of food. Added to processed cheese as yellow/orange colour
E102 Tartrazine Widely used yellow/orange colour Found in soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, puddings, meat products, sauces, tinned and packet convenience foods and confectionery
E104 Quinoline Yellow A synthetic coal tar dye, greenish yellow in colour Used with other yellow colours, especially in smoked fish
E110 Sunset Yellow A synthetic coal tar dye, yellow in colour, used with E102 Found in soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, puddings, meat products, sauces, tinned and packet convenience foods and confectionery
E120 Cochineal Natural red colour obtained from egg yolk and dried insects. Can be manufactured Red colour in foods
E122 Carmoisine A synthetic coal tar dye, red/purple in colour Often added to raspberry and chocolate flavoured deserts, marzipan, jam, cherryade, bottled sauce and breaded products
E123 Amaranth A synthetic coal tar dye, red in colour Sometimes used in gravy mixes, meat patties, and blackcurrant drinks
E124 Ponceau 4R A synthetic coal tar dye, red in colour Often used to restore red colour to tinned strawberries. Also added to strawberry jam, jelly and ice cream, tomato soup, savoury rice, cheesecake mix and some meat products
E127 Erythrosine A synthetic coal tar dye, red in colour, rich in mineral iodine. Regular component of glace cherries, peach melba yogurt, vacuum-packed ham and pork, tinned strawberries and certain flavours of chips and potato based snacks.
E128 Red 2G A synthetic coal tar dye, red in colour. Pork pies, sausages and other meat products.
E129 Allura Red AC Colouring agent  
E131 Patent Blue V Colouring agent  
E132 Indigo Carmine A synthetic coal tar dye, blue in colour. Added to gravy mix and certain meat products.
E133 Brilliant Blue A synthetic coal tar dye, blue in colour. Often mixed with E102 to make green. Bacon flavour snacks.
E140 Chlorophyll Naturally occurring green pigment found in leaves and stems of plants. Also manufactured. Added to green vegetables to enhance their colour.
E141 Copper complex of Chlorophyll A more stable colour obtained by a reaction between copper and manufactured chlorophyll. Used to heighten the green colour of products such as cucumber relish.
E142 Green S A synthetic coal tar dye, green in colour. Used to restore the expected green colour to tinned peas. Also added to asparagus soup, lemon or lime drinks and jellies and mint sauce.
E150 Caramel Commonly used brown colour and flavouring agent made from the caramelisation or burning of sugar by heat or chemicals. Used in soft drinks, gravy mix, brown bread, cakes, biscuits, malt vinegar, marmalade and beef products.
E150b Caustic sulphite caramel Colouring agent  
E150c Ammonia caramel Colouring agent  
E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel Colouring agent  
E151 Black PN A synthetic coal tar dye, black in colour. Used to darken fruits sauces.
E153 Carbon Black/Vegetable Carbon Natural black colour obtained from burnt plant material, now often manufactured. Added to concentrated fruit juices, preserves and jellies.
E154 Brown FK A synthetic coal tar dye, brown in colour. Added to smoked fish.
E155 Chocolate Brown HT A synthetic coal tar dye, brown in colour. Various foods.
E160 a - f Carotenoids Plant pigments derived from carrots, tomatoes, apricots, oranges, rosehip and green leafy vegetables. Now mostly manufactured. Provide a range of colours from yellow to red.
E160a Alpha-, Beta, Gamma-carotenes Beta-carotene is a well-known substance that is converted by the body to Vitamin A. Orange in colour. Added to biscuits, cakes, margarine, creamed rice, cheese products and certain soups.
E160b Annatto Orange/peach pigment naturally present in butter and cheese. Used to give creamy colour to creamed rice, coffee creamer, pastry, cheese and cheese products.
E160c Paprika extract; Capsanthian; Capsorubin Colouring agent  
E160d Lycopene Colouring agent  
E160e Beta-apo-8'-carotenal (C30) Colouring agent  
E160f Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8'-carotenoic acid (C30) Colouring agent  
E161 a: g Xanthrophylls Carotenoid pigments providing natural yellow to red colours. No typical products.
E161b Lutein Colouring agent  
E161g Canthaxanthin Colouring agent  
E162 Betanin (Beetroot Red) Naturally occurring red/purple colour in beetroots. May be added to oxtail soup.
E163 Anthocyanins Plant pigments with colours ranging from red to blue. Naturally present in red cabbage and grapes.
E170 Calcium Carbonate (Chalk) Naturally occurring mineral. It has various functions including acid regulator, firming agent, releasing agent and nutrient. It is added to white flour as a calcium supplement to replace the loss due to refining. Frequently an ingredient in bread and baked products.
E170 Calcium carbonates    
E171 Titanium dioxide Colouring agent  
E172 Iron oxide Naturally occurring mineral. Added to fortify food. Added to flour and breakfast cereals.
E173 Aluminium Colouring agent  
E174 Silver Colouring agent  
E175 Gold Colouring agent  
E180 Litholrubine BK Colouring agent  
E200 Sorbic Acid Naturally occurring in some fruit but generally manufactured synthetically for use as a food preservative. Commonly added to soft drinks, cheese spread, frozen pizza and cakes.
E201 Sodium Sorbate Salt of Sorbic Acid. As for Sorbic Acid.
E202 Potassium Sorbate Salt of Sorbic Acid. Used to preserve glace cherries.
E203 Calcium Sorbate Salt of Sorbic Acid. As for Sorbic Acid.
E210 Benzoic Acid Occurs naturally in cherry bark, raspberries, tea, anise and cassia bark, but largely prepared synthetically for commercial use. Acts as a preservative and anti-oxidant most frequently in fruit products, soft drinks, pickled produce and salad dressings.
E211 Sodium Benzoate Salt of Benzoic Acid. In bottled sauces.
E212 Potassium Benzoate Salt of Benzoic Acid. As per Benzoic Acid.
E213 Calcium Benzoate Salt of Benzoic Acid. As per Benzoic Acid.
E214 Ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative  
E214-219 Hydroxy Benzoate salts Salts of Benzoic Acid. As per Benzoic Acid.
E215 Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative  
E216 Propyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative  
E217 Sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative  
E218 Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative  
E219 Sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative  
E220 Sulfur Dioxide Gas prepared chemically for use as a food preservative, flour improver, bleaching agent and vitamin C stabiliser. Found in carbonated drinks, marmalade, glace cherries, mixed peel, cakes, fruit based products and meat products.
E221 Sodium sulphite Preservative  
E222 Sodium Hydrogen Sulphite/Bisulphite Synthetic preservative and bleaching agent. Often added to wine and beer.
E223 Sodium Metabisulphite Synthetic preservative. Added to sausages and some bottled sauces.
E224 Potassium metabisulphite Preservative  
E226 Calcium sulphite Preservative  
E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite Preservative  
E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite Preservative  
E230 Biphenyl; diphenyl Preservative  
E231 Orthophenyl phenol Preservative  
E232 Sodium orthophenyl phenol Preservative  
E234 Nisin Preservative  
E235 Natamycin Preservative  
E239 Hexamethylene tetramine Preservative  
E242 Dimethyl dicarbonate Preservative  
E249 Potassium Nitrite Naturally occurring mineral used as a preservative and as a colour fixative. Used in cooked meats, sausages and in cured meats.
E250 Sodium Nitrite Derived from sodium nitrate by chemical or bacterial action. Acts as a preservative and colour fixative. Added to cooked and cured meats, bacon and pork sausages.
E250 Sodium nitrite Preservative  
E251 Sodium Nitrate Naturally occurring mineral usually manufactured synthetically for use as a food preservative and colour fixative. In cooked meats, bacon, ham and cheese.
E252 Potassium Nitrate Naturally occurring but more usually produced artificially from waste animal and vegetable material. This additive is one of the oldest and most effective preservatives for meat. Also acts as a curing agent. Found in cured and cooked meats, and sausages.
E260 Acetic Acid Natural component of vinegar but generally manufactured from wood. Used as a preservative, acid or colour diluent. Found in pickles, bottled sauces and chutneys.
E260 Acetic acid    
E261 Potassium acetate    
E262 Sodium acetate    
E263 Calcium acetate    
E270 Lactic Acid Produced by the fermentation of lactose, which is the sugar present in milk. It occurs naturally in soured milk and yogurt and acts as a preservative, acid, flavour and assists the action of anti-oxidants. Widely used in salad dressings, cakes, biscuits, confectionery and certain types of prepared meat dishes.
E270 Lactic acid    
E280 Propionic Acid Fatty acid produced by animals in the process of digestion, but generally manufactures synthetically. Functions as a preservative. Added to baked goods.
E281 Sodium Propionate Salt of propionic acid. Added to baked goods.
E282 Calcium Propionate Salt of propionic acid. Found naturally in Swiss cheese. Added to baked goods.
E283 Potassium Propionate Salt of propionic acid. Added to baked goods.
E284 Boric acid Preservative  
E285 Sodium tetraborate; borax Preservative  
E290 Carbon Dioxide Gas present in air, but produced synthetically for food. Adds the fizz to fizzy drinks (carbonation), but is also used as a coolant, freezant, propellant, preservative and packaging gas. Carbonated drinks.
E290 Carbon dioxide    
E296 Malic acid    
E297 Fumaric Acid Prepared synthetically as an acid flavour. Baked products.
E300 L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Occurs naturally in fruit and vegetables but is synthesised biologically. It acts as a preservative, anti-oxidant, meat colour fixative, and flour improver. Also a vitamin. Found in fruit juices, bread, baked products, powdered mashed potatoes, etc.
E301 Sodium L-Ascorbate Salt of ascorbic acid. Added to cured meats.
E302 Calcium L-Ascorbate Salt of ascorbic acid. Similar function to Ascorbic Acid.
E304 Ascorbyl Palmitate Salt of ascorbic acid. Used in sausage and cured meats.
E306 Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Obtained from soya bean oil, wheatgerm, rice germ, cottonseed, maize and green leaves. Used as an antioxidant and nutrient. Added to fats and oils.
E307 Synthetic Alpha Tocopherol Synthetic products of Tocopherol with similar functions. Added to fats, oils and sausages.
E308 Synthetic Gamma Tocopherol Synthetic products of Tocopherol with similar functions. Added to fats, oils and sausages.
E309 Synthetic Delta Tocopherol Synthetic products of Tocopherol with similar functions. Added to fats, oils and sausages.
E310 Propyl Gallate Synthetically prepared antioxidant. Added to fats and oils. Will be found in fried foods. May give rise to a bitter taste.
E311 Octyl Gallate Synthetic product similar to Propyl Gallate with similar function. Added to fats and oils.
E312 Dodecyl Gallate Synthetic product similar to Propyl Gallate with similar function. Added to fats and oils.
E315 Erythorbic acid Antioxidants  
E316 Sodium erythorbate Antioxidants  
E320 Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) Antioxidant manufactured synthetically for use alone or with E280, E310, or E330 Often found in chips and other potato snacks, biscuits, pastry, bottled sauces and fried foods.
E321 Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) Synthetically prepared antioxidant. Similar to Butylated Hydroxyanisole.
E322 Lecithins Type of fat or lipid compound found naturally in all living organisms, protective against cholesterol deposition. Egg yolk is a rich source of lecithins, but commercially, most is obtained from soya beans. Used as an antioxidant, and emulsifier. Found in chocolate and chocolate products, powdered milk, margarine and potato snacks.
E325 Sodium lactate Salt of lactic acid (E270) used as a humectant Added to confectionery.
E326 Potassium Lactate Salt of lactic acid (E270) used as an acid regulator. Acid regulator.
E327 Calcium Lactate Salt of lactic acid (E270) used as an acid regulator and firming agent Frequently incorporated into baking powder.
E330 Citric Acid Occurs naturally in citrus fruit but may also be prepared from the fermentation of molasses. Used as an antioxidant, preservative, acid regulator and flour improver. Typically added to pickles, bottled sauces, dairy and baked products.
E331 Sodium Citrate Salt of Citric Acid with similar functions. As for E330.
E332 Potassium Citrate Salt of Citric Acid with similar functions. As for E330.
E333 Calcium Citrate Salt of Citric Acid, which acts as an acid regulator, emulsifier and firming agent. Found in carbonated drinks, wine, confectionery and cheese products.
E334 Tartaric Acid Natural product of wine making used as an acid regulator. Added to baking powder.
E335 Sodium L-Tartrate Salt of Tartaric Acid with similar function. As for E334.
E336 Potassium L-Tartrate (Cream of Tartar) Salt of Tartaric Acid with similar function. As for E334.
E337 Sodium potassium tartrate    
E338 Phosphoric acid    
E339 Sodium phosphates    
E340 Potassium phosphates    
E341 Calcium Orthophosphates (Pyrophosphates) Synthetic products of a naturally occurring mineral. Used as an anti-caking agent, acid regulator, emulsifier, flour improver, nutrient and an aid to antioxidants. Found in potato snacks, pastry mix and baking powder.
E341 Calcium Phosphate Rising agent. Baked products.
E343 Magnesium phosphates    
E350 Sodium malates    
E351 Potassium malate    
E352 Calcium malates    
E353 Metatartaric acid    
E354 Calcium tartrate    
E355 Adipic acid    
E356 Sodium adipate    
E357 Potassium adipate    
E363 Succinic acid    
E380 Triammonium citrate    
E385 Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate; calcium disodium EDTA    
E400 Alginic Acid Emulsifier, stabiliser and gelling agent or thickener extracted from brown seaweed. Frequently added to ice cream, instant desserts and puddings.
E401 Sodium Alginate Salt of Alginic Acid with similar functions. As for E400.
E402 Potassium alginate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E403 Ammonium alginate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E404 Calcium alginate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E405 Propane-1,2-diol alginate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E406 Agar Naturally occurring gum extracted from seaweeds. It is not digested so acts a source of dietary fibre. Also acts as a stabiliser and gelling agent. Used in tinned ham, meat glazes and in ice cream.
E407 Carrageenan (Irish Moss) Gum naturally present in red seaweed. Used as an emulsifier, stabiliser, and gelling agent. Found in ice cream.
E407a Processed eucheuma seaweed Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E410 Locust Bean Gum (Carob Bean Seed Gum) Natural extract from the Carob tree seed. Similar to E407. Added to ice cream, and soups. Carob is a non-caffeine containing substitute for cocoa and chocolate. Used in beverages, confectionery and baked products.
E412 Guar Gum (Cluster Bean Gum) Naturally occurring seed gum from a tree of the pea family. Used as a thickener and stabiliser. Added to bottled sauces, soup, ice cream and frozen desserts.
E413 Tragacanth Natural gum obtained from a tree of the pea family. Used as a stabiliser, emulsifier and thickener. Used to prevent crystallisation of sugar. As E412 and in confectionery.
E414 Acacia (Gum Arabic) Similar to E413. Similar to E413.
E415 Xanthan Gum Made from fermentation of carbohydrates by bacteria. Used as an emulsifier, stabiliser and thickener. Added to ice cream and bottled sauces.
E416 Karaya gum Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E417 Tara gum Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E418 Gellan gum Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E420 Sorbitol Sugar alcohol produced from glucose. Is less quickly absorbed than sugar so often used as a sweetener. Also used as a humectant and food colour diluent. May have a laxative effect in large doses. Widely used in diabetic confectionery, preserves, biscuits, cakes and soft drink.
E421 Mannitol Sugar alcohol derived from mannose, but general manufactured from seaweed. Acts as a sweetener, emulsifier, anti-caking agent and thickener. Used in confectionery and desserts.
E422 Glycerol Naturally occurring in many plant cells but generally prepared commercially from fats and oils. Used as a humectant. In confectionery and cake icing.
E422 Glycerine Colourless sweet liquid obtained from fatty acids, flavour and bulking agent. Cake icing.
E425 Konjac Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate    
E432 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate; Polysorbate 20 Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E433 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-oleate; Polysorbate 80 Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E434 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monopalmitate; Polysorbate 40 Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E435 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate; Polysorbate 60 Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E436 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate; Polysorbate 65 Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E440 (a) Pectin Occurs naturally in fruits, roots and stems of plants. Used as a stabiliser and jelling agent. Added to preserves, jellies and mint sauce.
E440 (b) Amidated Pectin Chemically treated Pectin used as an emulsifier and jelling agent. Preserves and jellies.
E442 Ammonium phosphatides Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E444 Sucrose acetate isobutyrate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E445 Glycerol esters of wood rosins Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E450 (a-c) Sodium and Potassium Phosphate salts Synthetically prepared emulsifiers, stabilisers and humectants. Added to meat products, bread, sausages and cheese products such as cheese spread.
E451 Triphosphates    
E452 Polyphosphates    
E459 Beta-cyclodextrin    
E460 Cellulose Fibrous part of plant cell walls used as a bulking agent. Used in high fibre bread and low calorie products.
E461 Methylcellulose Derived from Cellulose with similar properties. Used in slimming foods.
E463 Hydroxypropyl cellulose Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E464 Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E465 Ethylmethylcellulose Derived from Cellulose with similar properties. Added to fruitcake and bottled sauces.
E466 Carboxymethylcellulose Derived from Cellulose with similar properties. Used in ice cream, cream products and cheesecake mix.
E467 Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E468 Crosslinked sodium carboxy methyl cellulose Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E469 Enzymatically hydrolysed carboxy methyl cellulose Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E470 Sodium, Potassium and Calcium Salts of Fatty Acids Synthetically manufactured emulsifiers, stabilisers and anti-caking agents. Crisps and potato snacks.
E471 Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acid Normal products of fat digestion but are prepared synthetically. Frequently added to powdered milk, packet soup, cake, crisps, and potato snacks, bread and baked products and margarine.
E471 (a-e) Acid reactions with E471:
(a) Acetic
(b) Lactic
(c) Citric
(d) Tartaric
(e) Diacetyl Tartaric
Functions include emulsifier, stabiliser, thickener, humectant and releasing agent. Found in cheesecake mix, soups, bread and baked products.
E472a Acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E472b Lactic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E472c Citric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E472d Tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E472e Mono- and diacetyltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E474 Sucroglycerides Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E475 Polyglycerol Ester of Fatty Acids Synthetic product of E471 used as an emulsifier and stabiliser. Puddings and packet cheesecakes.
E476 Polyglycerol polyricinoleate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E477 Propane-1,2-diol esters of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E479b Thermally oxidised soya bean oil interacted with mono and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E481 Sodium Stearoyl-2-lactylate Prepared synthetically from Lactic Acid, used as a stabiliser and emulsifier. Potato snacks.
E482 Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E483 Stearyl tartrate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E491 Sorbitan monostearate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E492 Sorbitan tristearate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E493 Sorbitan monolaurate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E494 Sorbitan monooleate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E495 Sorbitan monopalmitate Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E500 Sodium Bicarbonate/ Hydrogen Carbonate (Bicarb of Soda) Prepared synthetically for use as an acid regulator, firming agent, release agent, raising agent and diluent. Malted drinks, tinned custard, cheesy potato snacks, bread and bread products.
E501 Potassium carbonates    
E503 Ammonium carbonates    
E504 Magnesium Carbonate Naturally occurring mineral used as an anti-caking agent. Table salt and icing sugar.
E507 Hydrochloric acid    
E508 Potassium Chloride Natural occurring chemical often associated with rock salt. Used as an emulsifier, stabiliser, salt substitute and dietary supplement. Found in low sodium or salt products.
E509 Calcium Chloride Product of natural salt brine, but more often prepared chemically. Used as a firming agent and to prevent texture deterioration. Red kidney beans.
E511 Magnesium chloride    
E512 Stannous chloride    
E513 Sulphuric acid    
E514 Sodium sulphates    
E515 Potassium sulphates    
E516 Calcium sulphate    
E517 Ammonium sulphate    
E520 Aluminium sulphate    
E521 Aluminium sodium sulphate    
E522 Aluminium potassium sulphate    
E523 Aluminium ammonium sulphate    
E524 Sodium hydroxide    
E525 Potassium hydroxide    
E526 Calcium hydroxide    
E527 Ammonium hydroxide    
E528 Magnesium hydroxide    
E529 Calcium oxide    
E530 Magnesium oxide    
E535 Sodium ferrocyanide    
E536 Potassium ferrocyanide    
E538 Calcium ferrocyanide    
E541 Sodium Aluminium Phosphate Synthetically prepared raising agent. Self-raising flower.
E551 Silicon Dioxide (Silica) Derived from sand. Used as an anti-caking agent. Potato snacks
E552 Calcium Silicate Salt of Silicon Dioxide with similar functions. Also used as a glazing agent, acid regulator, releasing agent and as a coating agent. Found in chewing gum, meat pies, salt and confectionery.
E553 Sodium Silico Aluminate/ magnesium silicate Salt of Silicon Dioxide with similar functions. Often found in packet noodles.
E554 Sodium aluminium silicate    
E555 Potassium aluminium silicate    
E556 Aluminium calcium silicate    
E558 Bentonite    
E559 Aluminium silicate; Kaolin    
E570 Fatty acids    
E574 Gluconic acid    
E575 Glucono delta-lactone    
E576 Sodium gluconate    
E577 Potassium gluconate    
E578 Calcium gluconate    
E579 Ferrous gluconate    
E585 Ferrous lactate    
E620 L-Glutamic Acid Naturally occurring amino acid obtained from protein but generally manufactured by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates. Used as a flavour enhancer and salt substitute. Used as a nutrient to increase protein values.
E621 Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Present naturally in seaweed but generally prepared chemically from sugar beet. Flavour enhancer of protein rich foods. Meat, Chinese foods, packet convenience meals and snacks (eg. soup), dries products, crisps and potato snacks.
E622 Monopotassium Glutamate Similar to Monosodium Glutamate. Similar to 621.
E623 Calcium Glutamate Similar to Monosodium Glutamate. Similar to 621.
E624 Monoammonium glutamate    
E625 Magnesium diglutamate    
E626 Guanylic acid    
E627 Sodium Guanylate Occurs naturally in sardines and yeast extract but generally manufactured synthetically. Used as a flavour enhancer. Often added to crisps and other potato snacks, gravy granules and pre-cooked dried rice.
E628 Dipotassium guanylate    
E629 Calcium guanylate    
E630 lnosinic acid    
E631 Sodium Inosinate Made from sardines and meat extract. Similar to 627.
E632 Dipotassium inosinate    
E633 Calcium inosinate    
E634 Calcium 5'-ribonucleotides    
E635 Sodium-5-Ribonucleotide Mixture of 627 and 631. Added to crisps and potato snacks and packet soups.
E640 Glycine and its sodium salt    
E650 Zinc acetate    
E900 Dimethylpolysiloxane    
E901 Beeswax, white and yellow    
E902 Candelilla wax    
E903 Carnauba wax    
E904 Shellac    
E905 Microcrystalline wax    
E912 Montan acid esters    
E914 Oxidised Polyethylene wax    
E920 L-Cysteine    
E927 Azodicarbonamide Chemically manufactured flour improver. Common ingredient in flour, bread and baked products.
E927b Carbamide    
E938 Argon    
E939 Helium    
E941 Nitrogen    
E942 Nitrous oxide    
E943a Butane    
E943b Iso-butane    
E944 Propane    
E948 Oxygen    
E949 Hydrogen    
E950 Acesulfame K Sweeteners  
E951 Aspartame New artificial sweetener of protein origin. Contains phenylalanine. Artificial sweeteners, confectionery, ice cream, low calorie desserts and soft drinks.
E951 Aspartame Sweeteners  
E952 Cyclamic acid and its Na and Ca salts Sweeteners  
E953 lsomalt Sweeteners  
E954 Saccharin Calorie-free artificial sweetener. Low calorie products, soft drinks and confectionery.
E957 Thaumatin Sweeteners  
E959 Neohesperidine DC Sweeteners  
E965 Glucose (hydrogenated) or Maltitol Natural occurring sugar in grapes, corn, etc. Confectionery, cakes, biscuits, puddings, desserts, soft drinks, convenience foods.
E966 Lactitol Sweeteners  
E967 Xylitol Sweeteners  
E999 Quillaia extract    
E1103 Invertase Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents  
E1105 Lysozyme Preservative  
E1200 Polydextrose    
E1200 Polydextrose Natural occurring sugar in grapes, corn, etc. Confectionery, cakes, biscuits, puddings, desserts, soft drinks, convenience foods.
E1201 Polyvinylpyrrolidone    
E1202 Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone    
E1400-1414 Starches Generally of maize, corn, potato, wheat or tapioca in origin. Used to modify texture and stability. Sauces, chutneys, confectionery, desserts, meat, fish, dairy, baked products.
E1404 Oxidised starch    
E1410 Monostarch phosphate    
E1412 Distarch phosphate    
E1413 Phosphated distarch phosphate    
E1414 Acetylated starch    
E1420 Acetylated Starch    
E1422 Acetylated distarch adipate    
E1440 Hydroxyl propyl starch    
E1442 Hydroxy propyl distarch phosphate    
E1450 Starch sodium octenyl succinate    
E1451 Acetylated oxidised starch    
E1505 Triethyl citrate    
E1518 Glyceryl triacetate; triacetin    
E1520 Propylene Glycol Synthetic carrier for extracts, flavours and spices. Functions as a stabiliser and humectant. Miscellaneous foods.

Table 2: Numbers with no E prefix

NameDescriptionExamples of Use
Arrowroot Natural plant starch used as a thickening agent. In glazes and jellies.
Caffeine Naturally occurring flavouring agent. Used in the newer energy drinks.
Calciferol Vitamin D. Generally extracted from yeast. Used to fortify margarine.
Calcium Bromate Maturing agent and flour improver. Used in bread.
Casein Naturally present milk protein used as an emulsifier, texturiser and a dietary supplement. Miscellaneous foods.
Chlorine Synthetically prepared bleaching agent. White flour, white bread, cakes and puddings.
Chlorine Dioxide Synthetically prepared additive similar to Chlorine. Also used as a water purifier and oxidising agent. Similar to Chlorine.
Corn Syrup Glucose obtained from corn or maize starch. Used as a sweetener. Miscellaneous foods.
Dipotassium Phosphate Acid regulator. Non-dairy powdered creams.
Disodium Phosphate Emulsifier. Macaroni products, cheese.
Edible Bone phosphate Mineral supplement and anti-caking agent extracted from animal bones. Miscellaneous foods.
Extenders Frequently a soya bean product, used to make meat go further. Meat products.
Fructose Naturally occurring sugar, present in fruit and honey. Acts as a sweetener. Miscellaneous foods.
Gelatine Protein extract from animal bones and tissue. Used as a stabiliser and jelling agent. Jellies, glazes, certain dessert products.
Hydrolysed vegetable protein Produced chemically from raw protein. Flavour enhancer. Soups, gravy and meat products.
Invert Sugar Syrup of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Humectant and sweetener. Confectionery and sweet products.
Iodine Found in seafood. Added to salt.
Lactose Sugar present naturally in milk. Used as a humectant and sweetener. Infant formula.
Niacin/Nicotinic Acid Natural occurring B group vitamin. Added to fortify food. Breakfast cereals.
Polysorbate 60 Prepared from sorbitol (E420) and used as a stabiliser and emulsifier. Bread and baked products.
Potassium Bromate Oxidising agent, improver and bleaching agent manufactured synthetically. Added to flour.
Sodium Chloride/Salt Natural occurring mineral. Acts as preservative and flavour enhancer. Miscellaneous foods.
Sucrose From cane or beet sugar. Available as molasses, granulated caster, icing and demerara sugar. Preservative and sweetener. Miscellaneous foods.
Thiamine Naturally occurring vitamin B1, generally manufactured. Added to fortify food. Breakfast cereal.
Vanillin Naturally occurring flavouring, generally manufactured synthetically. Baked products.
Yellow 2G A synthetic coal tar dye, yellow in colour. Found in soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, puddings, meat products, sauces, tinned and packet convenience foods and confectionery.

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