Non-Vegan E-Numbers

E-Numbers are simply artificial food additives, like colourants, flavourants, antioxidants, preservatives, stabilisers, thickeners etc. Each of these additives is given a corresponding “E Number” that adheres to an international numbering system, so that their use in food can be regulated.

There are literally thousands of them, and unfortunately they are not all free of animal products. As we know, it is not often that we are afforded clear, non-ambiguous labelling, indicating whether a product is suitable for consumption by Vegetarians and Vegans, which is fine, it’s not too difficult to scan the ingredients on the packaging of the products one buys. But it is slightly more difficult to judge whether or not the additives contain animal products when they are listed by their E Numbers.

Below is a list of E Numbers derived from animal products. In some instances, they may have been synthesised in labs, and may not be derived from actual animal products, but finding out where and how the additives in a particular product were manufactured is often difficult to do. Any E Numbers not listed, are generally considered safe for Vegetarian and/or Vegan consumption.

E Numbers definitely containing animal products/derivatives:

E120 – Cochineal (crushed scale of Dactylopius Coccus, a type of cactus beetle)
E441 – Gelatine (animal hoof/skin)
E542 – Bone Phosphate
E631 – Disodium inosinate (fish derivative)
E635 – Disodium ribonucleotides
E901 – Beeswax
E904 – Shellac (insect origin)
E966 – Lactitol (milk derivative)
E1105 – Lysozyme (found in egg whites)

E Numbers possibly containing animal products/derivatives:

Unfortunately it is not generally stated as to whether these additives are synthesised or derived from animal products, but it is fair to assume that in some cases they contain animal products.

E104 – Quinoline Yellow
E160 – Alpha-, beta-, gamma carotene
E161 – Canthaxanthin
E252 – Potassium Nitrate
E270 – Lactic Acid
E304 – Ascorbyl Palmitate
E304 – Ascorbyl Stearate
E322 – Lecithin (may be made from eggs)
E325 – Sodium Lactate
E326 – Potassium Lactate
E327 – Calcium Lactate
E422 – Glycerol/Glycerin
E(430 – 436) – Polyoxyethylenes
E442 – Ammonium Phosphotides
E445 – Glycerol esters of wood resin
E470(a) – Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty acids
E470(b) – Magnesium salts of fatty acids
E471 – Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids
E472(a) – Acetic acid esters of mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids
E472(b) – Lactic acid esters of mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids
E472(c) – Citric acid esters of mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids
E472(d) – Tartaric acid esters of mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids
E472(e) – Mono- and di-acetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids
E472(f) – Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids
E473 – contains fatty acids
E474 – Sucroglycerides
E475 – Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids
E476 – Polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids of caster oil
E477 – contains fatty acids
E479(b) – contains fatty acids
E481 – Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E482 – Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E483 – Stearyl tartrate
E(491 – 495) – Sorbitan
E570 – Stearic acid
E585 – Ferrous Lactate
E640 – Glycine and its sodium salt
E920 – L-cysteine and L-cysteine hydrochloride
E1518 – Glycerol

If you are unsure as to whether an additive is of animal origin, get hold of the manufacturer, who will most likely be able to tell you.

For a more extensive list and more information on E Numbers, check out these


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