(also known as vitamin B2)]] , a flavour enhancer]] E numbers are codes for substances that are permitted to be used as food additives for use within the European Union and Switzerland. European Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colours and sweeteners The "E" stands for "Europe." Commonly found on food labels, their safety assessment and approval are the responsibility of the European Food Safety Authority. Food Additives and Ingredients Association, no date, Frequently Asked Questions, accessed 6 March 2010 Having a single unified list for food additives was first agreed upon in 1962 with food colouring. In 1964, the directives for preservatives were added, 1970 for antioxidants and 1974 for the emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents. Food Additives in the European Union
Numbering schemesThe numbering scheme follows that of the International Numbering System (INS) as determined by the Codex Alimentarius committee, though only a subset of the INS additives are approved for use in the European Union as food additives. Outside the European continent, E numbers are also encountered on food labelling in other jurisdictions, including the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Australia, South Africa, New York City, New Zealand Food Standards Australia New Zealand , website and Israel. They are increasingly, though still rarely, found on North American packaging,See also " Food Additives", Food and Drug Administration website especially on imported European products.
Colloquial useIn some European countries, "E number" is sometimes used informally as a pejorative term for artificial food additives, and products may promote themselves as "free of E numbers". This is incorrect, because many components of natural foods have E numbers (and the number is a synonym for the chemical component), e.g. vitamin C ( E300) and lycopene ( E160d).
Classification by numeric rangeNB: 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 listThe list shows all components that have or had an E-number assigned. Not all additives listed are still allowed in the EU, but are listed as they used to have an E-number. For an overview of currently allowed additives see information provided by the Food Standards Agency of the UK.
E200–E299 ( preservatives)
E300–E399 ( antioxidants, acidity regulators)
E400–E499 ( thickeners, stabilisers, emulsifiers)
E500–E599 ( acidity regulators, anti-caking agents)
E600–E699 ( flavour enhancer)
E900–E999 ( glazing agents, gases and sweeteners)
E1000–E1599 (additional additives)
- Codex Alimentarius, the international foods standards, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963
- *See also their document " Class Names and the International Numbering System for Food Additives" (Ref: CAC/GL #36 publ. 1989, revised 2009, amended 2011)
- Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) publications at the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Food Additive Index, JECFA, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- E-codes and ingredients search engine with details/suggestions for Muslims
- Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers
- Food Additives in the European Union
- Food Additives, Food Safety, website of the European Union. Includes (a) Lists of authorised food additives (b) Food additives database