Your Guide to E-Numbers
Some time ago, there were rumours talking about how E-numbers indicate that a product contains traces of pork. So, whenever a product has an E-number on it, it will instantly be flagged as Non-halal for Muslims! However, Halal Buddy wants to clear this up once and for all. There’s no need to be alarmed about E-numbers: they are just codes for food additives.
Are E-numbers and Food Additives Related?
Simple. E-numbers ARE food additives. Food additives are used to enhance the colour, flavour, texture or prevent food from spoiling. Examples of additives are sweeteners, food colourings, enhancers, emulsifiers and more.
On the other hand, the ‘E’ on ‘E-numbers’ stands for ‘Europe’. An ‘E-number’ indicates that an additive has already passed safety tests and approved for use by the European Union (EU). In some countries there’s no ‘E’, just the code number. Whether it’s Halal or Non-Halal is another story entirely.
In the 1960s, regulatory bodies decided to make a standardised list of all the food additives in the world. Imagine turmeric for example, it would be called turmeric in New York, kunyit in Kuala Lumpur and manjal in Ramanathapuram. So, to make things easier for all, the regulatory bodies said, “Hey, let’s just make a standardised code for food additives. This way everyone will know what ingredient we’re talking about in the labels”. And so, in 1983 the E-number is born.
Sadly though, now rumours are E-numbers means pork. If you’re one of those people who’ve spread that E-numbers are pork, shame on you. Time to learn something new, buddy.
How do I Read These E-Numbers?
We can actually categorise these E-numbers into 9 types: