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Non-Vegetarian Food Additives
(Listed by E Numbers)

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Identifying food additives
It can be difficult to determine if some types of additives are derived from animals or not. This is because it all depends on how the additive has been manufactured in the first place. In Europe and Australia food additives are listed by a labelling system called "E Numbers". However, the use of E Numbers on ingredients lists has become unfashionable, particularly in the UK. This is because the representation of E Numbers tend to be associated with the negative health affects on the consumer. Psycologically, it seems that printing out the full name of the additive (even though the additve names themselves seem completly "foreign" and unpronouncable!), gives the consumer more confidence about their purchase.
Below is a list of additives arranged by their E Numbers, which either always contain animals or those which sometimes may - depending on how the additive was sourced to begin with. All other E Numbers not listed here are to the best of our knowledge always vegetarian.

NOTE for US and non E Number countries: If you would prefer to read a table with just the additive names in alphabetical order (no E Numbers) then click here

Key to the colour-coded table below:

Definitely of animal origin
Possibly of animal origin

Red background indicates additives which are always derived from animals. Those in grey boxes are additives, which could be made from either animal or vegetable origins; in which case the grey area additives should be treated with caution. Some of the grey area additives also give an indicator that they may be unsuitable for vegans.
If a food or beauty product is not clearly labelled get in touch with them and ask questions - make a fuss!

In the meantime, don't forget to vote on the Ethical Labelling Campaign.

You may also want to take this list with you when you go shopping so click here for a printer-friendly version

E Number Additive Name

120

Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines Natural Red 4 - colouring

A colouring that makes many foods red. Found in alcoholic drinks, fruit pie fillings, jams, many sweets and even cheeses. Cochineal is made from the female insect found on cacti called Dactylopius Coccus. She is boiled alive or left to "cook" alive through sun exposure. Cochineal is the result of crushing scales of the insect into a red powder.

153

Carbon Black, Vegetable Carbons - colouring

If the description on product packaging says "Vegetable Carbons", then it is most likely free of animal derivatives. (but could be derived from GM crops!) But if the additive is described as "Carbon Black", it 's more likely to be derived from various parts of animals.

161g

Canthaxanthin (Natural Orange Colour Xanthophylls) - colouring.

Be aware that although Canthaxanthin is usually derived from plant material, it can sometimes be made from fish and invertebrates with hard shells.

252

Potassium Nitrate (Saltpetre) - Preservative

Saltpetre is usually assumed to be of natural origins but it can be artificially manufactured from waste animal matter. Potassium nitrate is often found in smoked type cheeses - so even if the cheese contains vegetable rennet and not animal rennet, it may contain potassium nitrate made from animal waste, so check with the cheese manufacturer to determine the source of the potassium nitrate.

270

Lactic Acid - Antioxidant

Can be obtained from whey so Vegan's should determine the source of the ingredient by contacting manufacturers. Lactic Acid can be found in carbonated drinks, beer, dressings and various tinned products.

322

Lecithins - Emulsifier and Stabilizer

Some Lecithin contains egg yolks so not suitable for Vegans. Other main sources of Lecithin are from soya bean oil and is likely to be genetically modified (if sourced from countries such as the US) Lecithin can also be directly obtained from animal fat.

325

Sodium Lactate - Antioxidant

Sodium Lactate is the salt of Lactic Acid. (see E270 above)

326

Potassium Lactate - Antioxidant / Acidity Regulator

Another type of salt derived from Lactic Acid. (see E270 above)

327

Calcium Lactate - Antioxidant

Another type of salt derived from Lactic Acid. (see E270 above)

422

Glycerol (Humectant, Solvent, Sweet Glycerin) - Sweetener

There is contention surrounding the origins of Glycerol. Through various industrial reselling practices, a majority of glycerine originates as a by-product of soap manufacturing. Many soaps are manufactured using animal fats. This indicates that even though glycerine occurs naturally in plants, what ends up in food and soap products mostly originates from animals.

430 - 436

Polyoxyethylene - Emulsifiers and Stabilisers

E numbers 430 to 436 are various types of polyoxyethlene:

E430 Polyoxyethylene (8) stearate (Emulsifier / Stabiliser)
E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate (Emulsifier)
E432 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monolaurate (polysorbate 20 Emulsifier)
E433 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (polysorbate 80 Emulsifier)
E434 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monopalmitate (polysorbate 40 Emulsifier)
E435 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (polysorbate 60 Emulsifier)
E436 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan tristearate (polysorbate 65 Emulsifier)

These additives are very unlikely to originate from animals as they are normally derived from various types of fruit. It may still be worth checking with manufactures as to the exact origins of the ingredients which make up these Emulsifiers and stabilisers.

441

Gelatine - Emulsifier / Gelling Agent

You may not find this E number 441 on food ingredients listings anymore because instead of an additive, Gelatine has now been classed as food (made of animal skin and hoofs) in it's own right. Remember, all types of gelatine are animal based and can be found in dairy products like yoghurts, plus many kinds of confectionery, jellies and other sweets.

442

Ammonium phosphatides - Emulsifier

Amonium phosphatides can sometimes be made using Glycerol (see 422 above) Therefore the finished additive may contain animal fat.

470a

Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty acids - Emulsifier / Anti-caking Agent

As 470 is derived from fatty acids, these may originate from animal sources.

470b

Magnesium Stearate - Emulsifier / Anti-caking Agent

This is another magnesium salt from fatty acids and like 470a, may originate from animal sources.

471

Mono- and Diglycerides of fatty acids (glyceryl monostearate, glyceryl distearate) - Emulsifier

Because E471 is derived from Glycerine (Glycerol) (see E422 above), there may be a slim chance that E471 might contain animal fats.

472 a - f

E472 A to F are emulsifiers related to the mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids family:

E472a Acetic acid esters
E472b Lactic acid esters
E472c Citric acid esters
E472d Tartaric acid esters
E472e Mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters
E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters

Because the E472 family is derived from Glycerine (Glycerol) (see E422 above), there may be a slim chance that any of these might contain animal fats.

473

Sucrose esters of fatty acids - Emulsifier

E473 is a sucrose ester of E471, being fatty acids, which may be derived from animals.

474

Sucroglyceride - Emulsifier

E474 is a glyceride of sucrose ester of E471, being fatty acids, which may be derived from animals.

475

Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids - Emulsifier

Being an ester of fatty acids which may be derived from animals.

476

Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate - Emulsifier

As this is produced from glycol esters the glycerol can be sourced from a by-product of animal fats in the manufacturing of soap.

477

Propane-1, 2-diol esters of fatty acids, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids - Emulsifier

The glycol esters of fatty acids can be sourced from a by-product of animal fats in the manufacturing of soap.

478

Lactylated fatty acid esters of glycerol and propane-1 - Emulsifier

See 477 above

479b

Thermally oxidized soya bean oil interacted with mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids - Emulsifier

See 471 above

481

Sodium Stearoyl-2-lactylate - Emulsifier

See 471 above and 270 (contains Lactic Acid and Stearic Acid)

482

Calcium Stearoyl-2-lactylate - Emulsifier

See 471 above and 270 (contains Lactic Acid and Stearic Acid)

483

Stearyl tartrate - Emulsifier

See 471 above

491

Sorbitan monostearate - Emulsifier and Stabilizer

From stearic acid and is used in dried yeast. Stearic acid is found in vegetable and animal fats, but commercial production is usually synthetic. See also 570

492

Sorbitan Tristearate - Emulsifier

See 491

493

Sorbitan Monolaurate - Emulsifier

See 491

494

Sorbitan Monooleate - Emulsifier

See 491

495

Sorbitan Monopalmitate - Emulsifier

See 491

542
Bone phosphate - Anti-caking agent
570

Stearic Acid Fatty Acid - Anti-caking agent

Stearic acid is found in vegetable and animal fats, but commercial production is usually synthetic. Often used in dried yeast.

572

Magnesium stearate, calcium stearate - Emulsifier and Anti-caking agent

See Stearic Acid 570

585

Ferrous lactate - Colouring

A lactate is a compound formed when a mineral is bound to lactic acid. This is why additives named as a lactate may have been derived from an animal source such as whey. (see 270)

631

Disodium inosinate - Flavour enhancer

Almost always made from animals and fish

635

Disodium 5'-ribonucleotides - Flavour enhancer

Often made from animals

640

Glycine and its sodium salt - Flavour enhancer

Can sometimes be prepared from gelatine.

901

Beeswax - white and yellow - Glazing Agent

Not suitable for Vegans.

904

Shellac - Glazing Agent

Shellac is a resin secreted by an insect called the lac bug Laccifer lacca Kerr (Coccidae) . It is often unclear as to whether the insect is killed in the process of commercially obtaining shellac as the resin is left by the insect on various plants. Whether this resin is harvested as a residue or extracted by directly killing the insects needs further investigation.

910

L-cysteine - Improving agent

Produced commercially from animal and human hair (and feathers). When produced from animal hair it is almost certain that all L-cysteine is taken from slaughtered animals. When human hair is used it is often sourced from women in third-world countries. L-cysteine is used as an additive in around 5% of bread and other bakery products. It is not used in wholemeal bread or other wholemeal bakery products.

920

L-cysteine hydrochloride - Improving agent

Produced from L-cystine (see 910 above)

921

L-cysteine hydrochloride monohydrate - Improving agent

Produced from L-cystine (see 910 above)

966

Lactitol - Sweetener

Derived from Lactose, commercially prepared using whey, so unsuitable for vegans.

Ethical Labelling Campaign NOVA Ethical Labelling Campaign
If you would like to see an end to the confusion about what is and what isn't suitable for veg*ns then please visit our campaign at:
http://www.looking-glass.co.uk/ethical-labeling/index.htm


You may also want to take this additives list with you when you go shopping so click here for a printer-friendly version


For more detailed information on some of the ingredients in the above listing see: http://www.bryngollie.freeserve.co.uk/Enumbers.htm

 

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