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E-numbers and additives are from animal origin

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The site is run by the Food Technology Department and a team of international students (for English part: Abhishek GuptaMarta Kot), mainly from the MSc programmes in Food Technology and Food Safety at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, one of the leading universities in Food Science in the World.

In this document we list which E-numbers may be derived from animal origin. In many cases the origin of the product may be either from animal or non-animal sources. This is especially the case for those additives that contain fatty acids. These are normally of plant origin, but animal origin cannot be excluded. As the products are chemically identical, only the produces can give information on the exact origin.

Each religious (Muslim, Jew, Hindu or other) or other group (vegetarians, vegans) can use the list below to determine whether or not to accept the additive.

 

E-number Name Origin
E120 Carmine, Cochineal Colour isolated from the insects Coccus cacti
E322 Lecithine Soy beans and for some purposes from chicken eggs.
430 Polyoxyethylene(8) stearate Stearic acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate Stearic acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
E432 Polyoxyethylene-20-sorbitan monolaurate Lauric acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
E433 Polyoxyethylene-20-sorbitan mono-oleate Oleic acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
E434 Polyoxyethylene-20-sorbitan monopalmitate Palmitic acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
E435 Polyoxyethylene-20-sorbitan monostearate Stearic acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
E436 Polyoxyethylene-20-sorbitan tristearate Stearic acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
441 (invalid) Gelatin From animal bones. Since the BSE crisis mainly from pork, but other animal bones are used. Halal gelatin is available in specialised shops.
E470 Fatty acid salts For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E471 Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E472 Esters of mono- and diglycerides For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E473 Sugar esters of fatty acids For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E474 Sugarglycerides Combination of sugar and fatty acids. For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E475 Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E477 Propyleneglycol esters of fatty acids For fatty acids, see note below this table.
478 Mixture of glycerol- and propyleneglycol esters of lactic acid and fatty acids For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E479 and 479b Esterified soy oil For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E481/2 Natrium/Calcium-stearoyllactylate Mixture of lactic acid and stearic acid, a fatty acid. For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E483 Stearyltartrate Mixture of tartaric acid and stearic acid, a fatty acid. For fatty acids, see note below this table.
484 Stearylcitrate Mixture of citric acid and stearic acid, a fatty acid. For fatty acids, see note below this table.
E485 

(invalid number)

Gelatine From animal bones. Since the BSE crisis mainly from pork, but other animal bones are used. Halal gelatin is available in specialised shops.
E491-5 Combinations of sorbitol and fatty acids For fatty acids, see note below this table.
542 Edible bone phosphate From animal bones. Since the BSE crisis mainly from pork, but other animal bones are used.
E570-73 Stearic acid and stearates Stearic acid is a fatty acid. See note below this table.
E626-29 Guanylic acid and guanylatens Mainly from yeast, also from sardines and meat.
E630-35 Inosinic acid and inosinates Mainly from meat and fish, also made with bacteria.
636637 Maltol and Isomaltol From malt (barley), sometimes also from heating milk sugar.
E640 Glycin Mainly from gelatine (see 441 above), also synthetically.
E901 Bees wax Made by bees, but does not contain insects.
E904 Shellac Natural polymer derived from certain species of lice from India. Insects get trapped in the resin.
913 Lanolin A wax from sheep. It is excreted by the skin of the sheep and extracted from the wool.
920-21 Cystein en cystin Derived from proteins, including animal protein and hair.
E966 Lactitol Made from milk sugar
1000 Cholic acid From beef (bile)
E1105 Lysozym From chicken eggs

 

Fatty acids

Fats, whether from plant or animal origin, consist of glycerol and generally 3 fatty acids. Fats can enzymatically be split in fatty acids and glycerol. The fatty acids can be purified and reconnected to glycerol as mono- di- of triglycerides (glycerol with 1, 2 or 3 fatty acids respectively). Many additives consist of these semi-natural fats, which act as emulsifiers.

These semi-natural fats are degraded and metabolise din the body, just like normal fat.

Chemically the fatty acids from animal or plant origin are identical. Therefore the origin is of no importance for the function in the food. Producers thus normally choose the cheapest oils to make these fats. This is generally some vegetable oil. However, animal fats can not be excluded.

Unfortunately it is not possible to distinguish animal and vegetable fatty acids in the final product. Only the producer can provide information on the origin. As there is a risk for animal fats, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and vegans should avoid these products, unless the origin is mentioned by the producer.

Other common ingredients of animal origin :

 

Casein and caseinate A protein from cow’s milk
Gelatin From animal bones. Since the BSE crisis mainly from pork, but other animal bones are used. Halal and kosher gelatin is available in specialised shops.
Lactose Sugar from cow’s milk
Omega-3-fatty acids From fish, seals and soy.
Whey and wheypowder A fraction of milk, see also here.
(Whey, wheypowder and cheese may not be halal when the animal that provided the rennet to clot the milk, is not slaughtered according to Islamic rules. Only the producer can provide the information on the status of these products.)

 

Overview of additives and ingredients that are often mentioned as being from animal origin:

 

E101 Riboflavin (lactoflavin) Yellow food colour. It can be isolated from milk, but commercially produced from micro-organisms. Isolation from milk is too expensive.
E153 Carbon Prepared from charcoal from burned wood. Can be obtained from burned animals, but this is no longer done.
E161g Canthaxanthin Colour prepared from mushrooms or synthetically from carotene. Historically it was also prepared from shrimp waste or flaming feathers. Synthetic cantaxanthin is cheaper and has higher purity.
E270 Lactic acid and lactates Made by bacterial fermentation on sugar waste (molasses). It is not present in milk. All fermented products (dairy and non-dairy) contain lactic acid as the result of bacterial fermentation. Commercially only prepared from sugar.
E306307,308 Tocopherols (vitamin E) From vegetable oils. Also in animal (fish) oils but these oils are too expensive. Fish oils are, however, used as a source in food supplements, but not in foods, due to the strong flavour.
E325-7 Lactates See E270 above.
375 Nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) From yeast. Production from liver is too expensive.
E422 Glycerol Part of animal and vegetable fat. Commercially made synthetically from petroleum.
E476 Polyglycerolpolyricinoleate Synthetic vegetable fat.
E620-5 Glutamates. Commercially only made from sugar by bacterial fermentation or from seaweed. Theoretically from any protein, but that is too expensive.
E927b Ureum Synthetic. Can be isolated from urine, but too complicated and expensive.
Vitamin B12 Commercially only made by bacterial fermentation. Isolation from meat is too expensive, due to the very low concentrations.

 

 

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