Food Additives

illustration of food additives on a dinner plateRather than list the rather confusing (and daunting) chemical names of food additives, an international numbering code has been adopted so that a particular three or four digit number represents the appropriate additive. Additives may be used to enhance colour, flavour or shelf life, prevent foaming, emulsify, thicken or stabilise different foods. This enables those who are allergic to, or react to a chemical, to avoid it. There are also people who wish to avoid all additives and they can identify whether a food has any by the absence (or presence) of these numbers.

Hundreds of chemicals have been assigned numbers, and only a very few will be listed here.

Number Chemical Use
140 Chlorophyll Colouring
160b Annatto extracts Colouring
200 Sorbic acid Preservative
202 Potassium sorbate Preservative
234 Nisin Preservative
260 Acetic acid Food Acid
270 Lactic acid Food Acid
304 Ascorbyl palmitate Antioxidant
306 Tocopherols Antioxidant
320 Butylated hydroxyanisole Antioxidant
330 Citric acid Food Acid
339 Sodium phosphate Mineral salt
410 Locust bean gum Thickener
412 Guar gum Thickener
415 Xanthan gum Thickener
440 Pectin Gum
466 Sodium carboxymethylcellulose Thickener
471 Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids Emulsifier
472c Citric and fatty acid esters of glycerol Emulsifier
477 Propylene glycol esters Emulsifier
500 Sodium (bi) carbonate Mineral salt
503 Ammonium (bi) carbonate Mineral salt
509 Calcium chloride Mineral salt
635 Disodium 5-ribonucleotides Flavour enhancer
1402 Alkaline treated starch Thickener
1422 Acetylated distarch adipate Thickener
1440 Hydroxypropyl starch Thickener

After reading the list, you will understand better the reason that numbers are used rather than full chemical names!

Also Check :

(Last modified: 10th Oct 2014)

Comments are closed