Acids, Antioxidants & Salts E300-E385

Food acids are added to make flavours "sharper", and also act as preservatives and antioxidants. Common food acids include vinegar, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid.

Number Name Comments
E300 Ascorbic acid flour treating agent, 'vitamin C'; may be made synthetically from glucose, naturally occurs in fruit and vegetables; added to products as diverse as cured meat, breakfast cereals, frozen fish and wine
E301 Sodium ascorbate sodium salt of vitamin C
E302 Calcium ascorbate vitamin C, may increase the formation of calcium oxalate stones
E303 Potassium ascorbate potassium salt of vitamin C
E304 Ascorbyl palmitate, Ascorbyl stearate fatty acid esters of ascorbic acid, same function as E300
E306, E307,
E308, E309
Tocopherols, alpha, gamma, delta 'vitamin E'; found in many vegetable oils, including soy, wheat germ, rice germ, cottonseed, maize; works as an antioxidant for fatty acids and tissue fats, preventing vitamin A from oxidation; used in margarine and salad dressings
E310 Propyl gallate used to prevent rancidity in oily substances; derived from nutgalls; may cause gastric or skin irritation, gallates are not permitted in foods for infants and small children because of their known tendency to cause the blood disorder, methaemoglobinemia; used in oils, margarine, lard and salad dressings, sometimes used in packaging
E311 Octyl gallate see 310
E312 Dodecyl gallate see 310
E317 Erythorbic acid produced from sucrose
E318 Sodium erythorbate produced from E317
E319 Tert-ButylHydroQuinone (TBHQ) petroleum based; the HACSG* recommends to avoid it. May cause nausea, vomiting, delirium. A dose of 5g is considered fatal. Typical products are fats, oils, margarine
E320 Butylated hydroxy-anisole (BHA) petroleum derivative, retards spoilage due to oxidation; used in edible oils, chewing gum, fats, margarine, nuts, instant potato products, polyethylene food wraps; not permitted in infant foods, can provoke an allergic reaction in some people, may trigger hyperactivity and other intolerances; serious concerns over carcinogenicity and estrogenic effects, in large doses caused tumours in lab animals, banned in Japan in 1958, official committees of experts recommended that it be banned in the UK, however due to industry pressure it was not banned, McDonald's eliminated BHT from their US products by 1986, see also Butyl compounds
E321 Butylated hydroxy-toluene (BHT) petroleum derivative; see E320
E322 Lecithins emulsifier derived from soy beans, egg yolks, peanuts, corn or animal resources; non toxic but overdose can upset the stomach, kill the appetite and cause profuse sweating; used to allow combination of oils in margarine, chocolate, mayonnaise, milk powder; must be chosen vegetable type
E325 Sodium lactate derived from milk (lactic acid); may contain pork rennin or whey in process,
young children with lactose intolerance may show adverse reactions
E326 Potassium lactate see 325
E327 Calcium lactate see 325
E328 Ammonium lactate see 325
E329 Magnesium lactate see 325
E330 Citric acid food acid, naturally derived from citrus fruit, used in biscuits, canned fish, cheese and processed cheese products, infant formulas, cake and soup mixes, rye bread, soft drinks, fermented meat products
E331 Sodium citrates food acid; no known adverse effects
E332 Potassium citrates food acid; no known adverse effects
E333 Calcium citrates food acid; no known adverse effects in small quantities
E334 Tartaric acid food acid, obtained from unripe fruit, grape juice;
no known adverse effects in small quantities
E335 Sodium tartrates food acid; no known adverse effects
E336 Potassium tartrates food acid; no known adverse effects
E337 Sodium potassium tartrate food acid; no known adverse effects
E338 Phosphoric acid food acid, derived from phosphate ore; used in cheese products;
no known adverse effects
E339 Sodium phosphates mineral salt, used as a laxative and a fixing agent in textile dyeing; high intakes may upset the calcium/phosphorus equilibrium
E340 Potassium phosphates see 339
E341 Calcium phosphates mineral salt found in rocks and bones; used in medicines as an antacid and polishing agent in enamels
E343 Magnesium phosphates essential mineral, anticaking agent found in salt substitutes
E350 Sodium malates no known adverse effects
E351 Potassium malate no known adverse effects
E352 Calcium malates no known adverse effects
E353 Metatartaric acid no known adverse effects
E354 Calcium tartrate seems safe
E355 Adipic acid food acid from the root adipose (pertaining to fat?)
E357 Potassium adipate no known adverse effects
E363 Succinic acid avoid it, banned in some countries
E3120 Sodium fumarate food acid, salt of fumaric acid (derived from plants of the genus Fumaria esp. F.officianalis)
E366 Potassium fumarate no known adverse effects
E367 Calcium fumarate no known adverse effects
E370 1,4-Heptonolactone avoid it, banned in some countries
E375 Niacin vitamin B3; naturally occurs in bean, pea and other legumes, milk, egg, meat, poultry, and fish; at doses in excess of 1,000 mg per day can cause liver damage, diabetes, gastritis, eye damage, and elevated blood levels of uric acid (which can cause gout); at amounts as low as 50-100 mg may cause flushing (harmless but painful), headache, and stomach-ache especially if taken on an empty stomach
E380 Tri-ammonium citrate may interfere with liver and pancreas function
E381 Ammonium ferric citrates essential mineral, food acid derived from citric acid; used as a dietary iron supplement in breakfast cereals and dietary formulas
E385 Calcium disodium EDTA avoid it, banned in some countries

* Hyperactive Children Support Group (HACSG)
** Food and Drug Administration (U.S.)

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