E Numbers

E numbers are codes for chemicals which can be used as food additives for use within the European Union and Switzerland. They are commonly found on food labels throughout the European Union. Safety assessment and approval are the responsibility of the European Food Safety Authority.

Having a single unified list for food additives was first agreed upon in 1962 with colours. In 1964, the directives for preservatives was added, 1970 for antioxidants and 1974 for the emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents.

E Numbers for colours

E100 - E199

 

Code Name(s) Colour Natural or Nature Identical Status
E100 Curcumin (from turmeric) Yellow-orange Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E101 Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), formerly called lactoflavin Yellow-orange Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E101a Riboflavin-5'-Phosphate Yellow-orange Yes Approved in the EU.
E102 Tartrazine (FD&C Yellow 5) Lemon yellow   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E103 Alkannin Red-brown    
E104 Quinoline Yellow WS Dull or greenish yellow   Approved in the EU. Undergoing a voluntary phase-out in the UK.
E105 Fast Yellow AB Yellow    
E106 Riboflavin-5-Sodium Phosphate Yellow Yes  
E107 Yellow 2G Yellow    
E110 Sunset Yellow FCF (Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6) Yellow-orange   Approved in the EU. Banned in Norway. Products in the EU require warnings and its use is being phased-out. Approved in the US.
E111 Orange GGN Orange    
E120 Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmine (Natural Red 4) Crimson Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E121 Citrus Red 2 Dark red   Approved in the United States only for use in colouring the skin of oranges.
E122 Carmoisine (azorubine) Red to maroon   Approved in the EU. Undergoing a voluntary phase-out in the UK. Currently banned in Canada, Japan, Norway, USA . EU currently evaluating health risks.
E123 Amaranth (FD&C Red 2) Dark red   Approved in the EU.
E124 Ponceau 4R (Cochineal Red A, Brilliant Scarlet 4R) Red   Approved in the EU.
E125 Ponceau SX, Scarlet GN Red   Only permitted for externally applied drugs and cosmetics in the US.
E126 Ponceau 6R Red    
E127 Erythrosine (FD&C Red 3) Red   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E128 Red 2G Red    
E129 Allura Red AC (FD&C Red 40) Red   Approved in the EU. Banned in Switzerland. Undergoing a voluntary phase out in the UK. Approved in the US.
E130 Indanthrene blue RS Blue    
E131 Patent Blue V Dark blue   Approved in the EU.
E132 Indigo carmine (indigotine, FD&C Blue 2) Indigo   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E133 Brilliant Blue FCF (FD&C Blue 1) Reddish blue   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E140 Chlorophylls and Chlorophyllins: (i) Chlorophylls (ii) Chlorophyllins Green Yes Approved in the EU.
E141 Copper complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllins (i) Copper complexes of chlorophylls (ii) Copper complexes of chlorophyllins Green Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E142 Green S Green   Approved in the EU.
E143 Fast Green FCF (FD&C Green 3) Sea green    
E150a Plain caramel Brown Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E150b Caustic sulphite caramel Brown   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E150c Ammonia caramel Brown   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel Brown   Approved in the US.
E151 Black PN, Brilliant Black BN Black   Approved in the EU.
E152 Carbon black (hydrocarbon) Black    
E153 Vegetable carbon Black Yes Approved in the EU.
E154 Brown FK (kipper brown) Brown   Approved in the EU.
E155 Brown HT (chocolate brown HT) Brown   Approved in the EU.
E160a Alpha-carotene, Beta-carotene, Gamma-carotene Yellow-orange to brown Yes Approved in the EU.
E160b Annatto, bixin, norbixin Orange Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E160c Paprika oleoresin, Capsanthin, capsorubin Red Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E160d Lycopene Bright to deep red Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E160e Beta-apo-8'-carotenal (C 30) Orange-red to yellow Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E160f Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8'-carotenic acid (C 30) Orange-red to yellow Yes Approved in the EU.
E161a Flavoxanthin Golden-yellow and brownish    
E161b Lutein Orange-red to yellow Yes Approved in the EU.
E161c Cryptoxanthin Orange-red    
E161d Rubixanthin Orange-red    
E161e Violaxanthin Orange    
E161f Rhodoxanthin Purple    
E161g Canthaxanthin Violet Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E161h Zeaxanthin Orange-red    
E161i Citranaxanthin Deep violet    
E161j Astaxanthin Red    
E162 Beetroot Red, Betanin Red Yes Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E163 Anthocyanins pH dependent(Red, green and purple ranges) Yes Approved in the EU.
E164 Saffron Yellow-orange-red Yes Approved in the US.
E170 Calcium carbonate, Chalk White   Approved in the EU.
E171 Titanium dioxide White   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US.
E172 Iron oxides and iron hydroxides Brown   Approved in the EU. Approved in the US for sausage casings.
E173 Aluminium Silver to grey   Approved in the EU.
E174 Silver Silver   Approved in the EU.
E175 Gold Gold   Approved in the EU.
E180 Pigment Rubine, Lithol Rubine BK Red   Approved in the EU.
E181 Tannin Brown    
E182 Orcein, Orchil Purple

 


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