E Numbers

E Numbers

1. Please can you explain what are E No’s?

E-Numbers represent specific food additives, used by the industry in the manufacture of various food products. These E-Numbers have been formulated by the European Economic Community (EEC) and are universally adopted by the food industry worldwide.

The E-numbers are categorised as follows:
E100-199      food colours
E200-299      preservatives
E300-399      antioxidants, phosphates, and complexing agents
E400-499      thickeners, gelling agents, phosphates, humectants, emulsifiers
E500-599      salts and related compounds
E600-699      flavour enhancers
E700-899      not used for food additives (used for feed additives)
E900-999      surface coating agents, gases, sweeteners
E1000-1399      miscellaneous additives
E1400-1499      starch derivatives

Yes, there are few additives which are “always” of animal origin, such as:

E120 Cochineal : a red colour obtained from female insects
E441 Gelatine : derived from the bones and/ or hides of cattle and/ or pigs
E542 Edible Bone Phosphate : an extract from animal bones

Whilst some additives with a common code such as E471, can be either of animal or plant origin and this latter type needs to be investigated on a case-by-case basis per product/ manufacturer.

Most of the additives are however suitable.

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