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Which E Numbers Are Vegan?

Last Updated on January 6, 2021

Some protein shakes, protein bars, and other packaged food stuffs have lengthy ingredient lists. While It is often easy to spot the animal-derived ingredients, the e numbers can be confusing. Here is a complete listing to use as a guide so you can easily spot which e numbers are vegan.

What are E Numbers?

E numbers are a form of short-hand to identify food additives. They could be as innocent as E300 which is vitamin C, or as harmful as E621 which is MSG. So all e numbers are not created equal. Some are derived from animal products like E441 which is gelatin, while others are vegan like E460 which is plant fiber known as cellulose.

Keep in mind that just because an e number is vegan doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy. For example, E509 which is calcium chloride, is a vegan salt naturally found in limestone, but it’s highly toxic. When taken in adequate amounts it can lead to burns in the mouth, and stomach ulceration. Yet it’s used as a firming agent in jams to no ill effect.

Key to Vegan Status

Please understand this is a work in progress. I am still in the process of filling in the details about what each e number is and how it is used. I want to make the resource as useful to you as possible. In the meantime, the vegan status of all the e numbers has been identified. I hope it helps!

Here is the key used to let you know which e numbers are vegan, which could be from either animal or plant sources, and which are from animal sources.

E Numbers of Animal Origin
? Possibly Animal Derived E Numbers – please ask the supplier to use a vegan version.
√ Vegan E Numbers

Which E Numbers Are Vegan?

Here is a complete listing of e numbers. The ingredients ticked with a checkmark are vegan. It helps to have a guide you can keep handy for when you’re shopping, so bookmark this page for those e number emergencies.

The e numbers have been divided into groupings; however, not all e numbers have been classified correctly, but it is interesting to get a general idea of the layout of the listings and understand why they are used in the product and be able to suggest suitable vegan alternatives to the supplier.

Food Colourings – Yellows

√ E100 – Curcumin (turmeric). Natural color from the turmeric plant.

√ E101 – Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).

√ E101a – Riboflavin-5-Phosphate.

√ E102 – Tartrazine (FD&C Yellow 5). Synthetic yellow azon dye.

√ E103 – Alkannin. A natural red/brown dye sourced from borage plants.

√ E104 – Quinoline Yellow WS. Greenish yellow food coloring. Mostly used in food coatings and sauces.

√ E105 – Fast Yellow AB. Toxic, linked to asthma. This food coloring has been banned in Europe and USA.

√ E106 – Riboflavin-5-Sodium Phosphate. A more soluble version of Vitamin B2.

√ E107 – Yellow 2G – synthetic yellow Azon dye.

Food Colourings – Oranges

√ E110 – Sunset Yellow FCF (Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6). Derived from petroleum.

√ E111 – Orange GGN (Alpha-napthol). Azon dye forbidden to be used as a food additive.

Food Colourings – Reds

x E120 – Carmine Dye from Cochineal beetles, Natural Red 4. The beetles produce the acid as a defence against predators. The beetles and killed and dried to extract the acid.

√ E121 – Citrus Red 2. Artificial orange dye used to color the skin of oranges.

√ E122 – Carmoisine (Azorubine). An azo dye listed in the EU as a colorant in dried fruit, alcoholic drinks and cheeses. No evidence exists as to it being harmful.

√ E123 – Amaranth (FD&C Red2). A red azo dye from the Amaranth grain.

√ E124 – Ponceau 4R (Cochineal Red A, Brilliant Scarlet 4R). Synthetic food dye.

√ E125 – Ponceau SX, Scarlet GN.

√ E126

√ E127

√ E128

√ E129

Food Colourings – Blues and Violets

√ E130

√ E131

√ E132

√ E133

Food Colourings – Greens

√ E140

√ E141

√ E142

√ E143

Food Colourings – Browns and Blacks

√ E150a

√ E150b

√ E150c

√ E150d

√ E151

√ E152

? E153 – Carbon black, Vegetable carbon

√ E154

√ E155

Food Colourings – Gold and Others

√ E160a

√ E160b

√ E160c

√ E160d

√ E160e

√ E160f

√ E161a

√ E161b

√ E161c

√ E161d

√ E161e

√ E161f

? E161 g – Canthaxanthin

? E161h – Zeaxanthin

? E161i – Citranaxanthin

? E161j – Astaxanthin

√ E162 – natural red/purple coloring, sourced from beetroots. Most often used in tomato products, jelly, ice cream, sauces and jam.

√ E163

√ E170

√ E171

√ E172

√ E173

√ E174

√ E175

√ E180

√ E181

Preservatives – Sorbates

√ E200

√ E201

√ E202

√ E203

Preservatives – Benzoates

√ E210

√ E211 – Sodium benzoate is synthetically produced from benzoic acid which is sourced from plants, or bacteria in the fermentation process. It is present as citric acid in jams,  acetic acid in vinegar, and carbonic acid in soft drinks.

√ E212

√ E213

√ E214

√ E215

√ E216

√ E217

√ E218

√ E219

Preservatives – Sulfites

√ E220

√ E221

√ E222

√ E223

√ E224

√ E225

√ E226

√ E227

√ E228

Preservatives – Phenols and Formates (Methanoates)

√ E230

√ E231

√ E232

√ E233

√ E234

√ E235

√ E236

√ E237

√ E238

√ E239

Preservatives – Nitrates

√ E240

√ E242

√ E249

√ E250

? E252 – Potassium nitrate (Saltpetre)

√ E251

Preservatives – Acetates (Ethanoates)

√ E260

√ E261

√ E262

√ E263

√ E264

Preservatives – Lactates

√ E270

Preservatives – Propionates (Propanoates)

√ E280

√ E281

√ E282

√ E283

√ E284

√ E285

Preservatives – Others

√ E290

√ E296

√ E297

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Ascorbates (Vitamin C)

√ E300

√ E301

√ E302

√ E303

√ E304

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

√ E306

√ E307

√ E309

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Gallates and Erythorbates

√ E310

√ E311

√ E312

√ E315

√ E316

√ E317

√ E318

√ E319

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Lactates

√ E320

√ E321

? E322 – Lecithin

? E325 – Sodium lactate

? E326 – Potassium lactate

? E327 – Calcium lactate

√ E329

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Citrates and Tartrates

√ E330

√ E331

√ E332

√ E333

√ E334

√ E335

√ E336

√ E337

√ E338

√ E339

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Phosphates

√ E340

√ E341

√ E343

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Malates and Adipates

√ E350

√ E351

√ E352

√ E353

√ E354

√ E355

√ E356

√ E357

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Succinates and Fumarates

√ E363

√ E365

√ E366

√ E367

Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators – Others

√ E370

√ E375

√ E380

√ E381

√ E385

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Alginates

√ E400

√ E401

√ E402

√ E403

√ E404

√ E405

√ E406

√ E407

√ E407a

√ E408 – Bakers yeast Glycan. A natural polysaccharide produced from dried yeast cell wall (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) grown on seaweed (Furcellaria fastigata). Most often used in ice cream, cheese spreads, and salad dressings

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Natural Gums

√ E410

√ E412

√ E413

√ E414

√ E415

√ E416

√ E417

√ E418

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Other Natural Agents

√ E420

√ E421

? E422 – Glycerol

√ E425

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Polyoxyethene Compounds

√ E430

√ E431

? E432 – Polyoxyethene (20) sorbitan monolaurate (polysorbate 20)

? E433 – Polyoxyethene (20) sorbitan monooleate (polysorbate 80)

? E434 – Polyoxyethene (20) sorbitan monopalmitate (polysorbate 40)

? E435 – Polyoxyethene (20) sorbitan monostearate (polysorbate 60)

? E436 – Polyoxyethene (20) sorbitan tristearate (polysorbate 65)

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Natural Emulsifiers

√ E440

x E441 – Gelatin

? E442 – Ammonium phosphatides

√ E444

√ E445

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Phosphates

√ E450 – Potassium and sodium di-phosphates. Produced synthetically from phosphoric acid and carbonates. Used in baking powder to leaven baked goods, in potato products to keep white color, and in cured meats to retain moisture.

√ E451

√ E452

√ E459

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Cellulose Compounds

√ E460

√ E461

√ E462

√ E463

√ E464

√ E465

√ E466

√ E468

√ E469

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Fatty Acids and Compounds

? E470a – Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty acids

? E470b – Magnesium salts of fatty acids

? E471 – Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (glyceryl monostearate, glyceryl distearate)

? E472a – Acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids

? E472b – Lactic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acid

? 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 diacetyl tartaric 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, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids

? E478 – Lactylated fatty acid esters of glycerol and propane-1

? E479b – Thermally oxidized soya bean oil interacted with mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids

? E481 – Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate

? E482 – Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate

? E483 – Stearyl tartrate

Thickening Agents, Stabilizers and Emulsifiers – Others

? E491 – Sorbitan monostearate

? E492 – Sorbitan tristearate

? E493 – Sorbitan monolaurate

? E494 – Sorbitan monooleate

? E495 – Sorbitan monopalmitate

pH Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents – Mineral Acids

√ E500

√ E501

√ E503

√ E504

√ E507

√ E508

√ E509

pH Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents – Chlorides and Sulfates

√ E510

√ E511

√ E512

√ E513

√ E517

√ E518

√ E519

pH Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents – Sulfates and Hydroxides

√ E520

√ E521

√ E522

√ E523

√ E524

√ E525

√ E526

√ E528

√ E529

pH Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents – Alkali Metal Compounds

√ E530

√ E535

√ E536

√ E538

√ E540

√ E541

x E542 – Edible Bone Phosphate (not aligned with its categorisation)

√ E543

√ E544

√ E545

pH Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents – Silicates

√ E550

√ E551

√ E552

√ E553b

√ E554

√ E555

√ E556

√ E558

√ E559

pH Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents – Stearates and Gluconates

√ E570

√ E572

√ E574

√ E575

√ E576

√ E577

√ E578

√ E579

pH Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents – Others

? E585 – Ferrous lactate

Flavour Enhancers – Glutamates and Guanylates

√ E620

√ E621

√ E622

√ E623

√ E624

√ E625

√ E626

? E627 – Disodium guanylate, sodium guanylate

√ E628

√ E629

Flavour Enhancers – Inosinates

√ E630

? E631 – Disodium inosinate

√ E632

√ E633

√ E634

? E635 – Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides

√ E636

√ E637

Flavour Enhancers – Others

? E640 – Glycine and its sodium salt

Antibiotics

E700 – E799

Glazing Agents, Gases and Sweetners – Waxes

√ E900

x E901 – Beeswax, white and yellow

√ E902

√ E903

x E904 – Shellac – Resin from Lac Bug

√ E905

√ E905a

√ E905b

√ E905c

√ E906

√ E907

√ E908

Glazing Agents, Gases and Sweetners – Synthetic Glazes

x E910 – L-cysteine

√ E912

x E913 – Lanolin, sheep wool grease

√ E914

√ E915

Glazing Agents, Gases and Sweetners – Improving Agents

x E920 – L-cysteine

x E921 – L-cysteine

√ E922

√ E923

√ E924

√ E925

√ E926

√ E927

√ E297b

√ E928

Glazing Agents, Gases and Sweetners – Packaging Gases

√ E930

√ E938

√ E939

√ E940

√ E941

√ E942

√ E943a

√ E943b

√ E944

√ E948

√ E949

Glazing Agents, Gases and Sweetners – Sweeteners

√ E950

√ E951

√ E952

√ E953

√ E954

√ E955

√ E957

√ E959

√ E965

x E966 – Lactitol

√ E967

Glazing Agents, Gases and Sweetners – Foaming Agents

√ E999

Additional Chemicals

√ E1103

√ E1105

√ E1106

√ E1107

√ E1108

√ E1109

√ E1110

√ E1111

√ E1112

√ E1113

√ E1114

√ E1115

√ E1116

√ E1117

√ E1118

√ E1119

√ E1120

√ E1121

√ E1122

√ E1123

√ E1124

√ E1125

√ E1126

√ E1127

√ E1128

√ E1129

√ E1130

√ E1131

√ E1132

√ E1133

√ E1134

√ E1135

√ E1136

√ E1137

√ E1138

√ E1139

√ E1140

√ E1141

√ E1142

√ E1143

√ E1144

√ E1145

√ E1146

√ E1147

√ E1148

√ E1149

√ E1150

√ E1151

√ E1152

√ E1153

√ E1154

√ E1155

√ E1156

√ E1157

√ E1158

√ E1159

√ E1160

√ E1161

√ E1162

√ E1163

√ E1164

√ E1165

√ E1166

√ E1167

√ E1168

√ E1169

√ E1170

√ E1171

√ E1172

√ E1173

√ E1174

√ E1175

√ E1176

√ E1177

√ E1178

√ E1179

√ E1180

√ E1181

√ E1182

√ E1183

√ E1184

√ E1185

√ E1186

√ E1187

√ E1188

√ E1189

√ E1190

√ E1191

√ E1192

√ E1193

√ E1194

√ E1195

√ E1196

√ E1197

√ E1198

√ E1199

√ E1200

√ E1201

√ E1202

√ E1400

√ E1401

√ E1402

√ E1403

√ E1404

√ E1410

√ E1412

√ E1413

√ E1414

√ E1420

√ E1421

√ E1422

√ E1430

√ E1440

√ E1441

√ E1442

√ E1450

√ E1451

√ E1505

√ E1510

√ E1518

√ E1520

Conclusion

As complicated as e numbers appear at first glance, it seems that most of them are vegan. This doesn’t mean they are healthy. If you want to be healthy then it’s better to choose a whole food, plant-based diet with easy to understand lists of ingredients.

Take a look at the Ultimate Guide to Vegan Supplements to find out about important nutrients you may be missing from your diet.

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