Melissa Hartwig

UK "E Numbers" to avoid

19 posts in this topic

While working on The Whole30 book edits for our UK publisher, I began researching E numbers that would rule a product out on the Whole30. (Boy, your labeling isn't anywhere near as easy to translate with all these codes!) I thought you might find these helpful.

 

Note, I can't say for certain these are 100% of the E numbers to avoid. These are just the ones I researched with respect to specific off-plan ingredients. Feel free to post your own resources, or to request that I add to this list with other additives you discover in your own research.

 

Here is a list of E numbers you'd want to avoid on the Whole30, as these codes refer to either carrageenan, sulfites, or MSG:

 

E150b    Caustic sulphite caramel

E150d    Sulphite ammonia caramel

E220      Sulphur dioxide

E221      Sodium sulphite

E222      Sodium hydrogen sulphite

E223      Sodium metabisulphite

E224      Potassium metabisulphite

E226      Calcium sulphite

E227      Calcium hydrogen sulphite

E228      Potassium hydrogen sulphite

E407      Carrageenan

E620      Glutamic acid

E621      Monosodium glutamate

E622      Monopotassium glutamate

E623      Calcium diglutamate

E624      Monoammonium glutamate

E625      Magnesium diglutamate 

 

Here is a list of E numbers you'd want to avoid on the Whole30, as these codes refer to added sweeteners (natural, artificial, or sugar alcohols):

 

E420 Sorbitol - Sugar Alcohol

E421 Mannitol - Sugar Alcohol

E422 Glycerol - Sugar Alcohol

E950 Acesulfame K - Artificial Sweetener

E951 Aspartame - Artificial Sweetener

E952 Cyclamate - Artificial Sweetener

E953 Isomalt - Sugar Alcohol

E954 Saccharin - Artificial Sweetener

E955 Sucralose   - Artificial Sweetener

E956 Alitame - Artificial Sweetener

E957 Thaumatin - Natural Sweetener

E958 Glycyrrhizin - Natural Sweetener

E959 Neohesperidin DC - Artificial Sweetener

E960 Stevioside - Natural Sweetener

E961 Neotame - Artificial Sweetener

E962 Aspartame-acesulfame Salt - Artificial Sweetener

E965 Maltitol - Sugar Alcohol

E966 Lactitol - Sugar Alcohol

E967 Xylitol - Sugar Alcohol

E968 Erythritol - Sugar Alcohol

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This list is also very helpful in China and Japan where there are many UK branded products in the stores geared toward foreigners and higher end shoppers (and there is little or no translation).  Thank you!

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Are these specific to the UK? I'm moving to the Netherlands in 2 weeks and was wondering about food labeling.

I moved from the Uk to Belgium last year, and I do my food shopping across the border in the Netherlands, they use E numbers too. Hope this helps.

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Hi Catherine,

Today I read this article http://whole30.com/2015/03/label-reading/
The answer to your question is there:
"There are other additives (like guar gum or citric acid) that are generally safe for most, but may effect very sensitive individuals. Still other additives sound scary (like ascorbic acid), but are actually totally benign… that’s just the science-y name for vitamin C."

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This is really helpful! I had a mild Monday morning meltdown as I realised all the coconut milk brands I've so far used contain various E numbers, but couldn't work out what the numbers meant. And all the suggestions for compliant brands on the forum gave US names that are unavailable here. 

 

So, for anyone in the UK looking for totally compliant coconut milk, I'd recommend Biona Organic coconut milk.

 

You'll have to hunt it down at a Whole Foods or health food shop, as the popular supermarkets seem to only stock brands that are non-compliant (including Pride, Cocofresh, Mai Thai, Blue Dragon, Dunn's River, Island Sun and supermarket's own brand. I'd say steer clear of these.) 

lauralees84 and sunflowerinksa like this

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This is really helpful! I had a mild Monday morning meltdown as I realised all the coconut milk brands I've so far used contain various E numbers, but couldn't work out what the numbers meant. And all the suggestions for compliant brands on the forum gave US names that are unavailable here. 

 

So, for anyone in the UK looking for totally compliant coconut milk, I'd recommend Biona Organic coconut milk.

 

You'll have to hunt it down at a Whole Foods or health food shop, as the popular supermarkets seem to only stock brands that are non-compliant (including Pride, Cocofresh, Mai Thai, Blue Dragon, Dunn's River, Island Sun and supermarket's own brand. I'd say steer clear of these.)

Actually Blue Dragon is fine - there are no off plan ingredients added, it's just not the best option.

Not sure on the price of Biona, but you could also go for this option on Amazon which is purely coconut extract & water next time you're ordering you're coconut oil (I've found it's the cheapest place to get it) and get free postage....

 

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Actually Blue Dragon is fine - there are no off plan ingredients added, it's just not the best option.

Not sure on the price of Biona, but you could also go for this option on Amazon which is purely coconut extract & water next time you're ordering you're coconut oil (I've found it's the cheapest place to get it) and get free postage....

 

Thanks for clarifying. Biona's definitely a little pricier. TRS was a household brand as I was growing up, and readily available in the Indian shops in my hometown of Wembley, so that's good to know! Will stock up next time I visit the parents :-) 

jmcbn likes this

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E433 is an emulsifier - so it might be used in the likes of mayo to prevent it from separating, and is in general derived from vegetable oil. It *may* contain a type of sugar alcohol....

What are you seeing it in?

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For those who were wondering these aren't just for the UK. They apply to most of Europe and other parts of the world as well.

 

For example, these numbers are also used (sometimes) in Brazil. They are used on products that are made here - not just imports,  however - I would recommend having these numbers on your cellphone to consult if necessary, especially if you are shopping in stores with imports even if you are in the US.

 

For those wondering about different E numbers not on Melissa`s list and whether they can/can't wikipedia has a complete list you can  use as reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_number

 

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I'm staring down a packet of bacon with e252 and e250, but guessing from this thread that this is ok to get! Thanks guys - just starting out!

 

Those E numbers are for nitrates/nitrites which are acceptable. If you can find one without them though... :) 

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The list for the western countries (Canada/US) is the rules list. No added sweeteners, no grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes etc. You can look at the Sneaky Sugars list and the Common Additives list but beyond that it's really just a matter of reading the ingredients. The list for the UK was developed because it's numbers rather than words so difficult/impossible to know what you're getting. In Canada and the US, our ingredient lists are all written out in words.

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Just my two cents - that "numbers" situation would downright make me pull my hair out.  I'm sure it's helpful to get a list like this.

 

☺️

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