E number

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

E numbers are number codes for food additives and are usually found on food labels throughout the European Union. The numbering scheme follows that of the International Numbering System (INS) as determined by the Codex Alimentarius committee. Only a subset of the INS additives are approved for use in the European Union, the 'E' prefix which stands for Europe. In casual language in the UK and Ireland, the term "E-number" is used as a pejorative term for artificial food additives, and products may promote themselves as "free of E-numbers" even though some of the ingredients (e.g. bicarbonate of soda) do have such a code.

E numbers are also encountered on food labeling in other jurisdictions, including the GCC, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. They are increasingly (though still rarely) found on North American packaging, especially in Canada.

Classification by numeric range

100–109 yellows
110–119 oranges
120–129 reds
130–139 blues & violets
140–149 greens
150–159 browns & blacks
160–199 others
200–209 sorbates
210–219 benzoates
220–229 sulphites
230–239 phenols & formates (methanoates)
240–259 nitrates
260–269 acetates (ethanoates)
270–279 lactates
280–289 propionates (propanoates)
290–299 others
Antioxidants & acidity regulators
300–305 ascorbates (vitamin C)
306–309 Tocopherol (vitamin E)
310–319 gallates & erythorbates
320–329 lactates
330–339 citrates & tartrates
340–349 phosphates
350–359 malates & adipates
360–369 succinates & fumarates
370–399 others
Thickeners, stabilisers & emulsifiers
400–409 alginates
410–419 natural gums
420–429 other natural agents
430–439 polyoxyethene compounds
440–449 natural emulsifiers
450–459 phosphates
460–469 cellulose compounds
470–489 fatty acids & compounds
490–499 others
pH regulators & anti-caking agents
500–509 mineral acids & bases
510–519 chlorides & sulphates
520–529 sulphates & hydroxides
530–549 alkali metal compounds
550–559 silicates
570–579 stearates & gluconates
580–599 others
Flavour enhancers
620–629 glutamates
630–639 inosinates
640–649 others
900–909 waxes
910–919 synthetic glazes
920–929 improving agents
930–949 packaging gases
950–969 sweeteners
990–999 foaming agents
Additional chemicals
New chemicals that do not fall into standard classification schemes

NB: Not all examples of a class fall into the given numeric range. Moreover, many chemicals, particularly in the E400–499 range, have a variety of purposes.

Full list

E100–E199 (colours)

E200–E299 (preservatives)

E300–E399 (antioxidants, acidity regulators)

E400–E499 (thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers)

E500–E599 (acidity regulators, anti-caking agents)

E600–E699 (flavour enhancers)

E900–E999 (miscellaneous)

E1000–E1999 (additional chemicals)

External links

Template:E number infobox 900-909

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