Rather than list the rather confusing (and daunting) chemical names of food additives, an international numbering code has been adopted so that a particular three or four digit number represents the appropriate additive. Additives may be used to enhance colour, flavour or shelf life, prevent foaming, emulsify, thicken or stabilise different foods. This enables those who are allergic to, or react to a chemical, to avoid it. There are also people who wish to avoid all additives and they can identify whether a food has any by the absence (or presence) of these numbers.
Hundreds of chemicals have been assigned numbers, and only a very few will be listed here.
|260||Acetic acid||Food Acid|
|270||Lactic acid||Food Acid|
|330||Citric acid||Food Acid|
|339||Sodium phosphate||Mineral salt|
|410||Locust bean gum||Thickener|
|471||Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids||Emulsifier|
|472c||Citric and fatty acid esters of glycerol||Emulsifier|
|477||Propylene glycol esters||Emulsifier|
|500||Sodium (bi) carbonate||Mineral salt|
|503||Ammonium (bi) carbonate||Mineral salt|
|509||Calcium chloride||Mineral salt|
|635||Disodium 5-ribonucleotides||Flavour enhancer|
|1402||Alkaline treated starch||Thickener|
|1422||Acetylated distarch adipate||Thickener|
After reading the list, you will understand better the reason that numbers are used rather than full chemical names!