Emulsifiers & Stabilisers E400-E495

Emulsifiers allow water and oils to remain mixed together in an emulsion, as in mayonnaise, ice cream, and homogenised milk. Stabilizers, thickeners and gelling agents, like agar or pectin (used in jam for example) give foods a firmer texture. While they are not true emulsifiers, they help to stabilize emulsions.

Number Name Comments
E400 Alginic acid thickener and vegetable gum, derived from seaweed; used in custard mix, cordial, flavoured milk, ice blocks, thickened cream and yoghurt; no known adverse effects in small quantities, large quantities can inhibit the absorption of some nutrients
E401 Sodium alginate see 400
E402 Potassium alginate see 400
E403 Ammonium alginate see 400
E404 Calcium alginate see 400
E405 Propylene glycol alginate thickener and vegetable gum, derived from petroleum; see separate entry
E406 Agar thickener and vegetable gum derived from red seaweed; sometimes used as a laxative, found in manufactured meats and ice cream
E407 Carrageenan a fiber extracted from seaweed, it has recently been linked with cancer because it may become contaminated when ethylene oxide is added to an inferior product, this results in ethylene chlorohydrins forming, a highly carcinogenic compound; linked to toxic hazards, including ulcers and cancer; the most serious concerns relate to degraded carrageen, which is not a permitted additive; however, native carrageen an, which is used, may become degraded in the gut
E410 Locust bean gum derived from Carob or Locust bean tree Ceratonia siliqua; used in lollies, cordials, essences, some flour products, dressings, fruit juice drinks; frequently used as a caffeine-free chocolate substitute; may lower cholesterol levels
E412 Guar gum derived from the seeds of Cyamoposis tetragonolobus of Indian origin; fed to cattle in the US; can cause nausea, flatulence and cramps, may reduced cholesterol levels
E413 Tragacanth resin form the tree Astragalus gummifer; used in foods, drugs including nasal solutions, elixirs and tablets; also used as a binder in cosmetics; possible contact allergy
E414 Acacia gum derived from the sap of Acacia Sengal; easily broken down by the human digestive system; possible allergen, soothes irritations of mucous membranes
E415 Xanthan gum derived from the fermentation of corn sugar with a bacterium
E416 Karaya gum derived from the tree Sterculia urens; often used in conjunction with Carob (E 410), in ice cream, custard and sweets, as a filler for its capability to multiply its volume by 100 times with the addition of water; possible allergen
E417 Tara gum derived from the Tara bush, Caesalpinia Spinosa is indigenous to Ecuador and Peru and is grown in Kenya
E420 Sorbitol artificial sweetener and humectants; derived from glucose, either obtained from berries or synthesised; used in lollies, dried fruit, pastries, confectionary, low calorie foods, pharmaceutical syrups and ophthalmic preparations and is the seventh most widely used preservative in cosmetics; not permitted in foods for infants and young children, can cause gastric disturbance
E421 Mannitol artificial sweetener and humectants; derived from seaweed or the manna ash tree; possible allergen, not permitted in infant foods due to its ability to cause diarrhoea and kidney dysfunction, also may cause nausea, vomiting; typical products are low calorie foods
E422 Glycerol humectants and sweetener; oily colourless alcohol; derived by decomposition of natural fats with alkalis; usually as a by-product of soap making using animal fat or vegetable oil; can be obtained from petroleum products sometimes synthesised from propylene or fermented from sugar; used in flexible coatings on sausages and cheeses, also in crystallised and dried fruit, liqueurs and vodka. "Glycerine has been shown to protect against DNA damage induced by tumour promoters, ultraviolet lights and radiation, presumably via free radical scavenging"; large quantities can cause headaches, thirst, nausea and high blood sugar levels. Typical products are liquors, confectionary, dried fruit, low calorie foods
E430 ? ?
E431 Polyoxyethylene stearate ?
E432 Polysorbate 20 avoid it, banned in some countries
E433 Polysorbate 80 emulsifiers derived from animal fatty acids; used as synthetic flavourings, surfactants, defoaming agents and dough conditioners; may increase the absorption of fat-soluble substances
E434 Polysorbate 40 avoid it, banned in some countries
E435 Polysorbate 60 see 433
E436 Polysorbate 120 see 433
E440(a) Pectin naturally occurring in the skins of apples; used to thicken jams, jellies and sauces; large quantities may cause temporary flatulence or intestinal discomfort
E440(b) Amidated pectin no known adverse effects
E441 Gelatine possible allergen, may contain 220, asthmatics and people allergic to sulphites beware!
E442 Ammonium phosphatides no known adverse effects
E450 Diphosphates High intakes may upset the calcium/phosphate equilibrium
E460 Cellulose anti-caking agent; no adverse effects known
E461 Methyl cellulose can cause flatulence, distension, intestinal obstruction
E463 Hydroxypropyl cellulose avoid it, banned in some countries
E464 Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose no known adverse effects
E4120 Ethyl methyl cellulose no known adverse effects
E466 Carboxy methyl cellulose, Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose no known adverse effects
E469 Sodium caseinate no known adverse effects
E470 Fatty acids salts avoid it, banned in some countries
E471 Mono & di glycerides of fatty acids no known adverse effects
E472 Fatty acid esters of glycerides no known adverse effects
E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids no known adverse effects
E474 Sucroglycerides avoid it, banned in some countries
E475 Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids no known adverse effects
E476 Polyglycerol polyricinoleate no known adverse effects
E477 Propylene glycol esters of fatty acids derived from petroleum; no known adverse effects
E478 ? ?
E479(b) Thermally oxidized soya bean oil interacted with mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids ?
E480 Dioctyl sodium sulphosuccinate awaiting results of studies
E481 Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate no known adverse effects
E482 Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate no known adverse effects
E483 Stearyl tartrate avoid it, banned in some countries
E491 Sorbitan monos tearate no known adverse effects
E492 Sorbitan tristearate may increase the absorption of fat-soluble substances
E493 Sorbitan monolaurate avoid it, banned in some countries
E494 Sorbitan mono-oleate avoid it, banned in some countries
E495 Sorbitan monopalmitate avoid it, banned in some countries

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

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