Brays Guides to Food Additives and E Numbers

The capital ‘E’ in front of the number means that additive has been passed for food use throughout the European Community. As a general rule, E numbers from E100 -199 are colourings, E200 – 299 are preservatives, E300 – 399 are acids, antioxidants and mineral salts, E400 – 599 are vegetable gums, emulsifiers, stabilisers and anti-caking agents, E600 and above are flavour enhancers, E900 – 1500 are miscellaneous. An E number does not always mean ‘artificial’ – for example, of the 46 permitted food colours, 21 are “natural” – that is they occur in nature and are extracted from vegetable and animal sources. Of course, the other 25 are “not natural”. Many additives just replace a more expensive ingredient with a cheaper one. 

Not all E Numbers are bad for you! Sometimes an E Number is used as a descrption for a perfectly acceptable common and widely used ingredient.

DISLAIMER:
We have done our best in providing you with the following information. But we will not be held responsible for any errors or out of date information provided below. Customers should not absolutely rely upon the accuracy of the contents, but rather always confirm their understanding of what is stated.To our best knowledge, the following will offer a good basic guide to E Numbers and Additives.
E-Number-Name-Category-Comments E100 Curcumin, turmeric Colouring Orange-yellow colour, derived from turmeric 
E101 Riboflavin -Vitamin B2 Yellow colour A vitamin. Formerly lactoflavin 
E102 Tartrazine Colouring Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. Orange/yellow. Banned in Austria & Norway 
E103 Chrysoine Resorcinol Colouring  
E104 Quinoline Yellow Greenish yellow colouring Potential allergic reaction. Banned in Australia, Norway & USA 
E107 Yellow 2G Yellow colour Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. Banned in Australia & USA 
E110 Sunset Yellow FCF Yellow colour Potential strong allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. Banned in Norway 
E120 Cochineal, Carminic acid Red colour Obtained from egg yolk and dried insects. Avoid if possible 
E122 Carmoisine Red colour Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. Banned in Austria, Norway, Sweden & USA 
E123 Amaranth Purplish-red colour Avoid if possible. Banned in many, many countries 
E124 Brilliant Scarlet 4R, Ponceau 4R Red colour Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E127 Erythrosine Red colour Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E128 Red 2G Red colour Potential allergic reaction. Banned in many countries 
E129 Allura Red AC Red colour Potential skin allergic reaction. Best avoided. Banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden & Switzerland 
E131 Patent Blue V Blue colour Potential allergic reaction. Banned in Australia 
E132 Indigo Carmine Blue colour Potential strong allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. Banned in Norway 
E133 Brilliant Blue FCF Blue colour Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. Banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden & Switzerland 
E140 Chlorophyll Green to olive colour At last! A naturally occurring green pigment found in leaves and stems of plants.  
E141 Copper complex of Chlorophyll Olive colour  
E142 Greens S Green colour Banned in Norway, Sweden & USA 
E150(A-D) Caramels Brown colour Commonly used colour and flavouring agent 
E151 Brilliant Black BN Black colour Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. Banned in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland & USA 
E153 Carbon black, Vegetable carbon Black colour Natural colour from burnt plant material, or manufactured. Banned in USA 
E154 Brown FK Brown colour Potential allergic reaction. Banned in Australia & USA 
E155 Chocolate brown HT Brown colour Avoid if possible. Banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland & USA 
E160(A) Alpha-, Beta-, Gamma-Carotene Yellow to red From carrots, tomatoes, apricots, oranges, and green veg. Now likely manufactured. 
E160(B) Annatto, bixin, norbixin Orange colour  
E160(C) Paprika extract; Capsanthin Colouring agent Banned in several countries 
E160(D) Lycopene Colouring agent Banned in Australia 
E160(E) Beta-apo-8′-carotenal Orange colour No adverse effects recorded 
E160(F) Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8′-carotenic acid Orange colour No adverse effects recorded 
E161 Xanthophylls Yellow to red No adverse effects recorded 
E161(G) Canthaxanthin Orange colour No adverse effects recorded 
E162 Betanin (Beetroot Red) Red/purple colour Another natural colour. No adverse effects recorded 
E163 Anthocyanins Violet colour Plant pigments naturally present 
E170 Calcium carbonate, Chalk Colouring Naturally occurring mineral 
E171 Titanium dioxide White colour  
E172 Iron oxides and hydroxides Colouring Naturally occurring minerals 
E173 Aluminium Colouring agent Banned in some countries 
E174 Silver Colouring Banned in some countries 
E175 Gold Colouring Banned in some countries 
E180 Pigment Rubine, Lithol Rubine Colouring Banned in some countries 
E181 Tannin, Tannic acid Colouring  

E200 Sorbic acid Preservative Potential skin irritant 
E201 Sodium sorbate Preservative  
E202 Potassium sorbate Preservative  
E203 Calcium sorbate Preservative  
E210 Benzoic Acid Preservative and anti-oxidant Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. 
E211 Sodium Benzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. 
E212 Potassium benzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. 
E213 Calcium benzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. 
E214 Ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Banned in some countries 
E215 Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Banned in some countries 
E216 Propyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction by contact 
E217 Sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Banned in some countries 
E218 Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction by contact (skin) 
E219 Sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Banned in some countries 
E220 Sulphur Dioxide Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E221 Sodium sulphite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E222 Sodium Bisulphite Preservative and bleaching Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E223 Sodium metabisulphite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E224 Potassium metabisulphite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E225 Potassium sulphite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E226 Calcium sulphite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Banned in some countries 
E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Banned in some countries 
E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E230 Biphenyl, diphenyl Preservative Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E231 Orthophenyl phenol Preservative Banned in Australia 
E232 Sodium orthophenyl phenol Preservative Banned in some countries 
E233 Thiabendazole Preservative Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E234 Nisin Preservative  
E235 Natamycin Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E236 Formic acid Preservative Banned in some countries 
E237 Sodium formate Preservative Banned in some countries 
E238 Calcium formate Preservative Banned in some countries 
E239 Hexamethylene tetramine, Hexamine Preservative Banned in some countries 
E240 Formaldehyde Preservative  
E242 Dimethyl dicarbonate Preservative  
E249 Potassium nitrite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E250 Sodium nitrite Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E251 Sodium nitrate, saltpetre Preservative  
E252 Potassium Nitrate Preservative Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E260 Acetic acid Acidity regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E261 Potassium acetate Acidity regulator  
E262 Sodium acetate Acidity regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E264 Ammonium acetate Acidity regulator Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E270 Lactic acid Acidity regulator, Antioxidant Avoid for children 
E280 Propionic acid Preservative  
E281 Sodium propionate Preservative  
E282 Calcium propionate Preservative  
E283 Potassium propionate Preservative  
E284 Boric acid Preservative  
E285 Sodium tetraborate; borax Preservative  
E290 Carbon dioxide Acidity regulator Adds the fizz to fizzy drinks. Also coolant, propellant 

E296 Malic acid Acidity regulator Avoid for very young children 
E297 Fumaric Acid Acidity regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E300 Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) Antioxidant  
E301 Sodium ascorbate Antioxidant  
E302 Calcium ascorbate Antioxidant  
E303 Potassium ascorbate Antioxidant  
E304 Ascorbyl palmitate Antioxidant  
E306-9 Tocopherols (Vitamin E) Antioxidants  
E310 Propyl gallate Antioxidant Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E311 Octyl Gallate Antioxidant Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E312 Dodecyl gallate Antioxidant Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E317 Erythorbic acid Antioxidant No adverse effects recorded 
E318 Sodium erythorbin Antioxidant No adverse effects recorded 
E319 Butylhydroxinon Antioxidant Potential adverse effects. Avoid if possible 
E320 Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) Antioxidant Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E321 Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) Antioxidant Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E322 Lecithin Emulsifier Egg yolk is source. Most from soya beans, therefore likely GM  
E325 Sodium lactate Antioxidant Avoid for children with lactose intolerance 
E326 Potassium lactate Acid regulator Avoid for children with lactose intolerance 
E327 Calcium lactate Acid regulator Avoid for children with lactose intolerance 
E328 Ammonium lactate Acid regulator, Antioxidant Avoid for children with lactose intolerance 
E329 Magnesium lactate Acid regulator, Antioxidant Avoid for children with lactose intolerance 
E330 Citric acid Antioxidant Yikes! Another real one. Occurs naturally in citrus fruit 
E331 Sodium citrates Antioxidant Salt of Citric. No adverse effects recorded 
E332 Potassium citrates Antioxidant Salt of Citric. No adverse effects recorded 
E333 Calcium Citrate Antioxidant Salt of Citric. No adverse effects recorded 
E334 Tartaric Acid Antioxidant No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E335 Sodium L-Tartrate Antioxidant No adverse effects recorded 
E336 Potassium L-Tartrate (Cream of Tartar) Antioxidant No adverse effects recorded 
E337 Sodium potassium tartrate Antioxidant No adverse effects recorded 
E338 Phosphoric acid Antioxidant No adverse effects recorded 
E339 Sodium phosphates Antioxidant No adverse effects if used cautiously 
E340 Potassium phosphates Antioxidant No adverse effects if used cautiously 
E341 Calcium Orthophosphates Anti-caking, firming agent No adverse effects recorded 
E343 Magnesium phosphates Anti-caking agent No adverse effects recorded 
E350 Sodium malates Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E351 Potassium malate Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E352 Calcium malates Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E353 Metatartaric acid Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E354 Calcium tartrate Emulsifier  
E355 Adipic acid Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E357 Potassium adipate Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E363 Succinic acid Acid regulator Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E365 Sodium fumarate Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E366 Potassium fumarate Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E367 Calcium fumarate Acid regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E370 I,4-Heptonolactone Acid regulator Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E375 Nicotinic acid, Niacin Colour Retention Vitamin B3 
E380 Triammonium citrate Acid regulator No adverse effects if used cautiously 
E381 Ammonium ferric citrate Acid regulator  
E385 Calcium disodium (EDTA) Acid regulator Banned in Australia and some other countries 

E400 Alginic acid Thickener, stabiliser, gelling agent, emulsifier No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E401 Sodium alginate As 400 No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E402 Potassium alginate As 400 No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E403 Ammonium alginate As 400 No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E404 Calcium alginate As 400 No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E405 Propylene glycol alginate As 400 No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E406 Agar As 400 A seaweed gum. Not digested, acts as source of dietary fibre. No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E407 Carrageenan (Irish Moss) Stabiliser, gelling agent, emulsifier Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E410 Locust bean gum (Carob seed gum) Stabiliser, gelling agent, emulsifier No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E412 Guar gum Thickener, stabiliser  
E413 Tragacanth Thickener, stabiliser Potential contact allergy reaction. Avoid if possible 
E414 Acacia (Gum arabic) Thickener, stabiliser Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E415 Xanthan gum Emulsifier, stabiliser and thickener No adverse effects recorded 
E416 Karaya gum Stabiliser, thickener and emulsifier Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible. 
E417 Tara gum Thickener, stabiliser, gelling agent, emulsifier  
E418 Gellan gum Thickener, stabiliser, gelling agent, emulsifier  
E420 Sorbitol Sweetener, humectant -moisten Widely used in diabetic foods. Can cause gastric disturbances. 
E421 Mannitol Anti-caking agent, sweetener Potential dietary allergen. Avoid if possible 
E422 Glycerine, Glycerol Emulsifier, sweetener Potential dietary allergen. Some low calorie foods 
E432 Polysorbate 20 Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E433 Polysorbate 80 Emulsifier  
E434 Polysorbate 40 Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E435 Polysorbate 60 Emulsifier  
E436 Polysorbate 65 Emulsifier  
E440(A) Pectin Emulsifier, gelling agent Minimal adverse effects recorded 
E440(B) Amidated Pectin Emulsifier, gelling agent No adverse effects recorded 
E441 Gelatine Emulsifier, gelling agent Potential allergic reaction. Asthmatics avoid whenever possible 
E442 Ammonium phosphatides Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E444 Sucrose acetate isobutyrate Emulsifier  
E445 Glycerol esters of wood rosins Emulsifier  
E450-2 Sodium and Potassium PolyPhosphate salts Emulsifier High levels can upset the mineral balance 
E460 Powdered cellulose Emulsifier Fibrous part of plant cell walls. No adverse effects recorded 
E461 Methyl cellulose Emulsifier Potential gastric disturbances. Some low calorie foods 
E463 Hydroxypropyl cellulose Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E464 Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E465 Ethylmethyl cellulose Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E466 Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E469 carboxy methyl cellulose Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E470 Sodium, Potassium and Calcium Salts of Fatty Acids Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E472(A-F) esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids Emulsifiers No adverse effects recorded 
E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E474 Sucroglycerides Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E475 Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E476 Polyglycerol polyricinoleate Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E477 propylene glycol esters of fatty acids Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E479B Thermally oxidized soya bean oil Emulsifier Likely to be G.M. crop 
E481 Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E482 Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E483 Stearyl tartrate Emulsifier Banned in some countries 
E491 Sorbitan mono-stearate Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E492 Sorbitan tri-stearate Emulsifier No adverse effects recorded 
E493 Sorbitan mono-laurate Emulsifier Banned in some countries 
E494 Sorbitan mono-oleate Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E495 Sorbitan mono-palmitate Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 

E500 Sodium carbonates (Bicarbonate of soda) Acidity regulator, Raising agent No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E501 Potassium carbonates Acidity regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E503 Ammonium carbonates Acidity regulator May irritate mucus membranes 
E504 Magnesium carbonates Acidity regulator, Anti-caking agent No adverse effects recorded. Often found in antacids and laxatives. 
E507 Hydrochloric acid Acid No adverse effects noted in small quantities 
E508 Potassium chloride Gelling agent Found in low sodium & salt products. 
E509 Calcium chloride Firming Agent No adverse effects recorded 
E510 Ammonium chloride Acidity regulator, Improving agent Best avoided by people with liver or kidney problems 
E511 Magnesium chloride Firming Agent One of the essential minerals 
E513 Sulphuric acid Acid Banned in some countries 
E514 Sodium sulphates Acidity regulator Can upset the body’s water balance 
E515 Potassium sulphates Seasoning No adverse effects recorded 
E516 Calcium sulphate Sequestrant, Improving agent No adverse effects recorded 
E517 Ammonium sulphate Improving agent  
E518 Magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) Acidity regulator A laxative. No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E519 Copper sulphate Preservative One of the essential minerals 
E520 Aluminium sulphate Firming Agent  
E521 Aluminium sodium sulphate Firming Agent  
E522 Aluminium potassium sulphate Acidity regulator  
E524 Sodium hydroxide Acidity regulator Banned in some countries 
E525 Potassium hydroxide Acidity regulator Banned in some countries 
E526 Calcium hydroxide Acidity regulator No adverse effects recorded in small quantities 
E527 Ammonium hydroxide Acidity regulator Banned in some countries 
E528 Magnesium hydroxide Acidity regulator Banned in some countries 
E529 Calcium oxide Acidity regulator No adverse effects recorded 
E530 Magnesium oxide Anti-caking agent Banned in some countries 
E535 Sodium ferrocyanide Anti-caking agent No adverse effects recorded 
E536 Potassium ferrocyanide Anti-caking agent  
E540 Di-calcium di-phosphate Acidity regulator Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E541 Sodium aluminium phosphate Emulsifier, Raising agent Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E542 Bone phosphate Anti-caking agent Animal origin. No adverse effects recorded 
E544 Calcium polyphosphate Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E545 Ammonium polyphosphate Emulsifier Banned in Australia and some other countries 
E551 Silicon dioxide (Silica) Anti-caking agent Derived from sand. No adverse effects recorded in food use 
E552 Calcium silicate Anti-caking agent Antacid. No adverse effects recorded 
E553(A) Magnesium silicates Anti-caking agent Banned in Australia 
E553(B) Talc Anti-caking agent Potential adverse reaction. Avoid if possible. 
E554 Sodium aluminium silicate Anti-caking agent  
E556 Calcium aluminium silicate Anti-caking agent  
E558 Bentonite Anti-caking agent No adverse effects recorded 
E559 Aluminium silicate (Kaolin) Anti-caking agent No adverse effects recorded 
E570 Stearic acid (Fatty acid) Anti-caking agent No adverse effects recorded 
E572 Magnesium stearate Anti-caking agent No adverse effects recorded 
E575 Glucono Delta-lactone Anti-caking agent, Sequestrant No adverse effects recorded 
E576 Sodium gluconate Sequestrant Banned in Australia 
E577 Potassium gluconate Sequestrant No adverse effects recorded 
E578 Calcium gluconate Firming Agent No adverse effects recorded 
E579 Ferrous gluconate Colouring No adverse effects recorded 
E585 Ferrous lactate Colouring No adverse effects recorded 
E-Number-Name-Category-Comments 2E620 L-Glutamic acid Flavour enhancer Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E621 Monosodium glutamate Flavour enhancer Potential allergic reaction. Avoid for children 
E622 Monopotassium glutamate Flavour enhancer Potential allergic reaction. Avoid wherever possible 
E623 Calcium glutamate Flavour enhancer Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E624 Mono ammonium glutamate Flavour enhancer Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E625 Magnesium di glutamate Flavour enhancer Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E627 Disodium guanylate Flavour enhancer Avoid for children 
E631 Disodium inosinate Flavour enhancer Avoid for children 
E635 Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides Flavour enhancer Banned in some countries 
E636 Maltol Flavour enhancer  
E637 Ethyl maltol Flavour enhancer  
E640 Glycine and its sodium salt Flavour enhancer  
E650 Zinc acetate Flavour enhancer  

E900 Dimethyl polysiloxane Anti-foaming agent No adverse effects recorded 
E901 Beeswax, white and yellow Glazing agent Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E903 Carnauba wax Glazing agent Potential allergic reaction. Avoid if possible 
E904 Shellac Glazing agent Potential allergic contact reaction. Avoid if possible 
E905 Microcrystalline wax (Paraffins) Glazing agent Potential for gastric disturbances. 
E907 Crystalline wax Glazing agent Banned in some countries 
E920 L-cysteine hydrochlorides Improving agent No adverse effects recorded 
E924 Potassium bromate Improving agent Potential dietary allergen. Avoid if possible 
E925 Chlorine Preservative, Bleach Known carcinogen. Used in drinking water to ‘purify’ it 
E926 Chlorine dioxide Preservative, Bleach  
E927 Azodi carbonamide Improving agent Banned in Australia 
E928 Benzole peroxide Improving agent Potential allergic reaction. Asthmatics avoid whenever possible 
E938 Argon Packaging gas  
E939 Helium Packaging gas  
E941 Nitrogen Packaging gas  
E942 Nitrogen oxide Propellant  
E943A Butane Propellant  
E944 Propane Propellant  
E948 Oxygen Packaging gas  
E949 Hydrogen  
E950 Acesulphane potassium Sweetener  
E951 Aspartame Sweetener Potential allergic reaction. Avoid wherever possible 
E952 Cyclamic acid Sweetener Possible carcinogen. Banned in the USA and UK 
E954 Saccharins Sweetener  
E957 Thaumatin Sweetener  
E965 Maltitol, Hydrogenated glucose syrup Sweetener, Humectant  
E967 Xylitol Sweetener  
E999 Quillaia extract Foaming Agent  
E1100 Amylase Stabiliser  
E1103 Invertase Stabiliser  
E1200 Polydextrose Stabiliser  
E1201 Polyvinyl pyrrolidone Stabiliser No adverse effects recorded. Used as tablet coating 
E1202 Polyvinyl polypyrrolidone Stabiliser No adverse effects recorded 
E1400-51 Starches Stabiliser, Thickening agent No adverse effects recorded 
E1505 Triethyl citrate Foam Stabiliser  
E1510 Ethanol Alcohol 
E1518 Glycerol triacetate Humectant  
E1520 Propylene glycol Humectant