Additives are used to make the food colourful, tasty and to increase the shelf-life the products at the room temperature or in the refrigerators. We eat with our eyes before we buy a processed food. They are also used for the production of the uncontrolled production of saliva so that we eat further after our hunger is satisfied. This is bad for our health. Excess sugar and fructose are converted to fat in the liver and are the main cause of overweight and obesity. Here we can see more information about food processing and additives.

What are additives?

Additives are normally natural, nature identical or artificial substances which are of little or no nutritional value, but are used in the processing or storage of foods as well as animal feeds. Additives are used for different purposes including keeping the food wholesome until it is eaten, make the food look or taste better, make that the food is easy to store or use and keep the price of the food competitive. In an emerging country like India, it is the other way. Though it is costlier than other countries people are ready to pay since these are considered as fashion food.

What are the different categories off additives?

The list is long and they are as follows:

1. Acids
2. Acidity regulators
3. Anti caking agents
4. Anti oxidants
5. Bulking agents
6. Carriers and carrier solvents
7. Colours
8. Emulsifiers
9. Emulsifying salts
10. Firming agents
11. Flavour enhancers
12. Flour treatment agents
13. Foaming agents
14. Gelling agents
15. Glazing agents
16. Humectants
17. Modified starches
18. Packaging gases
19. Preservatives
20. Propellants
21. Raising agents
22. Stabilizers
23. Sequestrants
24. Sweeteners
25. Thickeners

I have given the names of many chemicals used to give you an idea which chemicals are used. Be careful your processed food or soft drink or ready made soup can be a cocktail of chemicals. Avoid processed foods to your children.

Additives- banned for children

Could you please tell me something about food additives banned for children?

The banned food additives which should be avoided in children’s food are as follows:


E951 Aspartame


E102 Tartrazine
E104 Quinoline Yellow
E107 Yellow 2G
E110 Sunset Yellow
E120 Cochineal
E122 Caqrmoisine
E123 Amaranth
E124 Ponceau 4R
E127 Erythrosine
E128 Red 2G
E129 Allura Red
E131 Patent Blue V
E132 Indigo Carmine
E133 Brilliant Blue FCF
E142 Green S
E151 Black PN
E154 Brown FK


E210 Benzoic acid
E211 Sodium benzoate
E212 Potassium benzoate
E213 Calcium benzoate
E214 Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate
E215 Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt
E216 Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate
E217 Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt
E218 Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate
E219 Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt
E220 Sulphur dioxide
E221 Sodium sulphite
E222 Sodium hydrogen sulphite
E223 Sodium metabisulphite
E224 Potassium metabisulphite
E226 Calcium sulphite
E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite
E230 Biphenyl
E231 2-Hydroxybiphenyl
E232 Sodium biphenyl-2-yl oxide
E233 2-(Thiazol-4-yl) benzimidazole
E239 Hexamine
E249 Potassium nitrite
E250 Sodium nitrite
E251 Sodium nitrate
E252 Potassium nitrate

If you are sure that any other E number apart from the above mentioned may be harmful to your child avoid it immediately. The hidden dangers are difficult to find out. For example, E 621 Monosodium Glutamate must be declared on the label, but if the hydrolysed form is used it is not necessary to declare although Monosodium Glutamate is used in this particular food. Talk to your dietician about this clearly.

List of E numbers

Could you give me more information about this list of E numbers?

The list of additives currently permitted in food within the European Union with their E numbers is given below. This list is constantly being updated and added to.


E100 Curcumin
E101 (1) Riboflavin (2) Riboflavin-5'-phosphate
E102 Tartrazine
E104 Quinoline yellow
E110 Sunset Yellow FCF; Orange Yellow S
E120 Cochineal; Carminic acid; Carmines
E122 Azorubine; Carbonising
E123 Amaranth
E124 Ponceau 4R; Cochineal Red A
E127 Erythrosine
E128 Red 2G
E129 Allura Red AC
E131 Patent Blue V
E132 lndigotine; Indigo Carmine
E133 Brilliant Blue FCF
E140 Chlorophylls and chlorophyllins
E141 Copper complexes of chlorophyll and chlorophyllins
E142 Green S
E150a Plain caramel
E150b Caustic sulphite caramel
E150c Ammonia caramel
E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel
E151 Brilliant Black BN; Black PN
E153 Vegetable carbon
E154 Brown FK
E155 Brown HT
E160a Carotenes
E160b Annatto; Bixin; Norbixin
E160c Paprika extract; Capsanthian; Capsorubin
E160d Lycopene
E160e Beta-apo-8'-carotenal (C30)
E160f Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8'-carotenoic acid (C30)
E161b Lutein
E161g Canthaxanthin
E162 Beetroot Red; Betanin
E163 Anthocyanins
E170 Calcium carbonate
E171 Titanium dioxide
E172 Iron oxides and hydroxides
E173 Aluminium
E174 Silver
E175 Gold
E180 Litholrubine BK


E200 Sorbic acid
E202 Potassium sorbate
E203 Calcium sorbate
E210 Benzoic acid
E211 Sodium benzoate
E212 Potassium benzoate
E213 Calcium benzoate
E214 Ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E215 Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E216 Propyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E217 Sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E218 Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E219 Sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E220 Sulphur dioxide
E221 Sodium sulphite
E222 Sodium hydrogen sulphite
E223 Sodium metabisuiphite
E224 Potassium metabisulphite
E226 Calcium sulphite
E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite
E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite
E230 Biphenyl; diphenyl
E231 Orthophenyl phenol
E232 Sodium orthophenyl phenol
E234 Nisin
E235 Natamycin
E239 Hexamethylene tetramine
E242 Dimethyl dicarbonate
E249 Potassium nitrite
E250 Sodium nitrite
E251 Sodium nitrate
E252 Potassium nitrate
E280 Propionic acid
E281 Sodium propionate
E282 Calcium propionate
E283 Potassium propionate
E284 Boric acid
E285 Sodium tetraborate; borax
E1105 Lysozyme


E300 Ascorbic acid
E301 Sodium ascorbate
E302 Calcium ascorbate
E304 Fatty acid esters of ascorbic acid
E306 Tocopherol
E307 Alpha-tocopherol
E308 Gamma-tocopherol
E309 Delta-tocopherol
E310 Propyl gallate
E311 Octyl gallate
E312 Dodecyl gallate
E315 Erythorbic acid
E316 Sodium erythorbate
E320 Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
E321 Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)


E420 (1) Sorbitol, (2) Sorbitol syrup
E421 Mannitol
E953 lsomalt
E965 (1) Maltitol, (2) Maltitol syrup
E966 Lactitol
E967 Xylitol
E950 Acesulfame K
E951 Aspartame
E952 Cyclamic acid and its Na and Ca salts
E954 Saccharin and its Na, K and Ca salts
E957 Thaumatin
E959 Neohesperidine DC

Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents

E322 Lecithin
E400 Alginic acid
E401 Sodium alginate
E402 Potassium alginate
E403 Ammonium alginate
E404 Calcium alginate
E405 Propane-1,2-diol alginate
E406 Agar
E407 Carrageenan
E407a Processed eucheuma seaweed
E410 Locust bean gum; carob gum
E412 Guar gum
E413 Tragacanth
E414 Acacia gum; gum arabic
E415 Xanthan gum
E416 Karaya gum
E417 Tara gum
E418 Gellan gum
E425 Konjac
E432 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate; Polysorbate 20
E433 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-oleate; Polysorbate 80
E434 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monopalmitate; Polysorbate 40
E435 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate; Polysorbate 60
E436 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate; Polysorbate 65
E440 Pectins
E442 Ammonium phosphatide
E444 Sucrose acetate isobutyrate
E445 Glycerol esters of wood resins
E460 Cellulose
E461 Methyl cellulose
E463 Hydroxypropyl cellulose
E464 Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose
E465 Ethyl methyl cellulose
E466 Carboxy methyl cellulose
E467 Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose
E468 Crosslinked sodium carboxy methyl cellulose
E469 Enzymatically hydrolysed carboxy methyl cellulose
E470a Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty Acids
E470b Magnesium salts of fatty acids
E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472a Acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472b Lactic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472c Citric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472d Tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472e Mono- and diacetyltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids
E474 Sucroglycerides
E475 Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids
E476 Polyglycerol polyricinoleate
E477 Propane-1,2-diol esters of fatty acids
E479b Thermally oxidised soya bean oil interacted with mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
E481 Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E482 Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E483 Stearyl tartrate
E491 Sorbitan monostearate
E492 Sorbitan tristearate
E493 Sorbitan monolaurate
E494 Sorbitan monooleate
E495 Sorbitan monopalmitate
E1103 Invertase


Acid, acidity regulators, anti-caking agents, anti-foaming agents, bulking agents, carriers and carrier solvents, emulsifying salts, firming agents, flavour enhancers, flour treatment agents, foaming agents, glazing agents, humectants, modified starches, packaging gases, propellants, raising agents and sequestrants.

E170 Calcium carbonate
E260 Acetic acid
E261 Potassium acetate
E262 Sodium acetate
E263 Calcium acetate
E270 Lactic acid
E290 Carbon dioxide
E296 Malic acid
E297 Fumaric acid
E325 Sodium lactate
E326 Potassium lactate
E327 Calcium lactate
E330 Citric acid
E331 Sodium citrate
E332 Potassium citrate
E333 Calcium citrate
E334 Tartaric acid (L-(+))
E335 Sodium tartrate
E336 Potassium tartrate
E337 Sodium potassium tartrate
E338 Phosphoric acid
E339 Sodium phosphate
E340 Potassium phosphate
E341 Calcium phosphate
E343 Magnesium phosphate
E350 Sodium malate
E351 Potassium malate
E352 Calcium malate
E353 Metatartaric acid
E354 Calcium tartrate
E355 Adipic acid
E356 Sodium adipate
E357 Potassium adipate
E363 Succinic acid
E380 Triammonium citrate
E385 Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate; calcium disodium EDTA
E422 Glycerol
E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate
E450 Diphosphate
E451 Triphosphate
E452 Polyphosphate
E459 Beta-cyclodextrin
E500 Sodium carbonate
E501 Potassium carbonate
E503 Ammonium carbonate
E504 Magnesium carbonate
E507 Hydrochloric acid
E508 Potassium chloride
E509 Calcium chloride
E511 Magnesium chloride
E512 Stannous chloride
E513 Sulphuric acid
E514 Sodium sulphate
E515 Potassium sulphate
E516 Calcium sulphate
E517 Ammonium sulphate
E520 Aluminium sulphate
E521 Aluminium sodium sulphate
E522 Aluminium potassium sulphate
E523 Aluminium ammonium sulphate
E524 Sodium hydroxide
E525 Potassium hydroxide
E526 Calcium hydroxide
E527 Ammonium hydroxide
E528 Magnesium hydroxide
E529 Calcium oxide
E530 Magnesium oxide
E535 Sodium ferrocyanide
E536 Potassium ferrocyanide
E538 Calcium ferrocyanide
E541 Sodium aluminium phosphate
E551 Silicon dioxide
E 552 Calcium silicate
E553a (1) Magnesium silicate, (2) Magnesium trisilicate
E553b Talc
E554 Sodium aluminium silicate
E555 Potassium aluminium silicate
E556 Aluminium calcium silicate
E558 Bentonite
E559 Aluminium silicate; Kaolin
E570 Fatty acids
E574 Gluconic acid
E575 Glucono delta-lactone
E576 Sodium gluconate
E577 Potassium gluconate
E578 Calcium gluconate
E579 Ferrous gluconate
E585 Ferrous lactate
E620 Glutamic acid
E621 Monosodium glutamate
E622 Monopotassium glutamate
E623 Calcium diglutamate
E624 Monoammonium glutamate
E625 Magnesium diglutamate
E626 Guanylic acid
E627 Disodium guanylate
E628 Dipotassium guanylate
E629 Calcium guanylate
E630 lnosinic acid
E631 Disodium inosinate
E632 Dipotassium inosinate
E633 Calcium inosinate
E634 Calcium 5'-ribonucleotides
E635 Disodium 5'-ribonucieotides
E640 Glycine and its sodium salt
E650 Zinc acetate
E900 Dimethylpolysiloxane
E901 Beeswax, white and yellow
E902 Candelilla wax
E903 Carnauba wax
E904 Shellac
E905 Microcrystalline wax
E912 Montan acid esters
E914 Oxidised Polyethylene wax
E920 L-Cysteine
E927b Carbamide
E938 Argon
E939 Helium
E941 Nitrogen
E942 Nitrous oxide
E943a Butane
E943b Iso-butane
E944 Propane
E948 Oxygen
E949 Hydrogen
E999 Quillaia extract
E1200 Polydextrose
E1201 Polyvinylpyrrolidone
E1202 Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone
E1404 Oxidised starch
E1410 Mono starch phosphate
E1412 Distarch phosphate
E1413 Phosphated distarch phosphate
E1414 Acetylated di-starch phosphate
E1420 Acetylated starch
E1422 Acetylated distarch adipate
E1440 Hydroxyl propyl starch
E1442 Hydroxy propyl distarch phosphate
E1450 Starch sodium octenyl succinate
E1451 Acetylated oxidised starch, Polyethylene glycol 6000
E1505 Triethyl citrate
E1518 Glyceryl triacetate; triacetin
E1520 Propan-1,2-diol; propylene glycol

There are more than 3,000 known chemicals used in the food processing industry and even if it is more it is impossible to find out because their analysis is not routine one and there are no standardised methods available. Uncontrolled amount of chemicals could enter the blood from the processed foods which can make problems to the mineral balance resulting problems for the metabolism and also the production of more free radicals which in turn cause more damage to our health. It is your duty to understand which is good and which is not so that uncontrolled processes could be controlled and you could only make the industry to think and produce safe and half-way natural food. The industry should not forget their responsibility and the health authorities must make stricter laws and regular controls for general health. The important duty lies in the hands of doctors, dieticians and scientists to inform the public with facts so that they know how to do and what to do correctly.