We focused mainly on e numbers which exclusively from animal origin can be derived or they might come from animal origin as well. Either it is mentioned on the packaging, if not, then it is always better to contact the producer.

E Number Colour Code: 

Definitely from animal origin

Possibly from animal origin


Riboflavin, Lactoflavine, Vitamin B2 - colouring

Riboflavin is a natural dye, better known as vitamin B2. The commercial dye is derived from some types of yeasts. However this substance can also be obtained from milk.


Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines Natural Red 4 - colouring

A colouring that makes many foods red. Found in alcoholic drinks, fruit pie fillings, jams, many sweets and even cheeses.

Cochineal is made from the female insect found on cacti called Dactylopius Coccus. 

She is boiled alive or left to "cook" alive through sun exposure. Cochineal is the result of crushing scales of the insect into a red powder. Not suitable for Vegans.



Carbon Black, Vegetable Carbons - colouring

If the description on product packaging says "Vegetable Carbons", then it is most likely free of animal derivatives. (but could be derived from GM crops!) But if the additive is described as "Carbon Black", it 's more likely to be derived from various parts of animals. 


Canthaxanthin (Natural Orange Colour Xanthophylls) - colouring.

Be aware that although Canthaxanthin is usually derived from plant material, it can sometimes be made from fish and invertebrates with hard shells. 


Potassium Nitrate (Saltpetre) - Preservative

Saltpetre is usually assumed to be of natural origins but it can be artificially manufactured from waste animal matter. Potassium nitrate is often found in smoked type cheeses - so even if the cheese contains vegetable rennet and not animal rennet, it may contain potassium nitrate made from animal waste, so check with the cheese manufacturer to determine the source of the potassium nitrate. 


Lactic Acid - Antioxidant

Can be obtained from whey so Vegan's should determine the source of the ingredient by contacting manufacturers.Lactic Acid can be found in carbonated drinks, beer, dressings and various tinned products.


Lecithins - Emulsifier and Stabilizer

Main source of Lecithin is soya bean oil and is likely to be genetically modified (if sourced from countries such as the US) Lecithin can also be directly obtained from chicken eggs or from animal fat.


Sodium Lactate - Antioxidant

Sodium Lactate is the salt of Lactic Acid. (see E270 above) 


Potassium Lactate - Antioxidant / Acidity Regulator

Another type of salt derived from Lactic Acid. (see E270 above) 


Calcium Lactate - Antioxidant

Another type of salt derived from Lactic Acid. (see E270 above)


Glycerol (Humectant, Solvent, Sweet Glycerin) - Sweetener

There is contention surrounding the origins of Glycerol. Through various industrial reselling practices, a majority of glycerine originates as a by-product of soap manufacturing. Many soaps are manufactured using animal fats. This indicates that even though glycerine occurs naturally in plants, what ends up in food and soap products mostly originates from animals. 

 430 – 436

Polyoxyethylene – Emulsifiers and Stabilisers

E numbers 430 to 436 are various types of polyoxyethylene:


E430 Polyoxyethylene (8) stearate (Emulsifier / Stabiliser)  

E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate (Emulsifier)

E432 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monolaurate (polysorbate 20 Emulsifier)

E433 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (polysorbate 80 Emulsifier)

E434 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monopalmitate (polysorbate 40 Emulsifier)

E435 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (polysorbate 60 Emulsifier)

E436 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan tristearate (polysorbate 65 Emulsifier)

These additives are very unlikely to originate from animals as they are normally derived from various types of fruit. It may still be worth checking with manufactures as tot he exact origins of the ingredients which make up these emulsifiers and stabilisers.


441 (Or 485)

Gelatine – Emulsifier / Gelling agent

You may not find this E number 441 on food ingredients listings anymore because instead of an additive, Gelatine has now been classed as food (made of animal skin and hoofs) in it’s own right. Remember, all types of gelatine are animal based and can be found in dairy products like yoghurts, plus many kinds of confectionery, jellies and other sweets. Not suitable for Vegans.


Ammonium phosphatides – Emulsifier 

Ammonium phosphatides can sometimes be made using Glycerol (see 422 above). Therefore the finished additive may contain animal fat.


Sodium, potassium and calcium salt of fatty acids – Emulsifier / Anticaking Agent

As 470 is derived from fatty acids, these may originate from animal sources.


Magnesium Stearate – Emulsifier / Anti-caking Agent

This is another magnesium salt from fatty acids and like 470a, may originate from animal sources.


Mono- and Diglycerides of fatty acids (glyceryl monostearate, glyceryl distearate) – Emulsifier

Because E471 is derived from Glycerine (Glycerol) (see E422 above), there may be a slim chance that E471 might contain animal fats.

472 a – f

E472 A to F are emulsifiers related tot he mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids family:

E472a Acetic acid esters

E472b Lactic acid esters

E472c Citric acid esters

E472d Tartaric acid esters

E472e Mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters

E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters

Because the E472 family is derived from Glycerine (Glycerol) (see E422 above), there may be a slim chance that any of these might contain animal fats.


Sucrose esters of fatty acids – Emulsifier

E473 is a sucrose ester of E471, being fatty acids, which may be derived from animals.


Sucroglyceride – Emulsifier

E474 is a glyceride of sucrose ester of E471, being fatty acids, which may be derived from animals. 


Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids – Emulsifier

Being an ester of fatty acids which may be derived from animals.


Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate – Emulsifier

As this is produced from glycol esters the glycerol can be sourced from a by-product of animal fats in the manufacturing of soap.


Propane-1, 2-diol esters of fatty acids, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids – Emulsifier

The glycol esters of fatty acids can be sourced from a by-product of animal fats in the manufacturing of soap.


Lactylated fatty acid esters of glycerol and propane-1 – Emulsifier

See 477 above.


Thermally oxidized soya bean oil interacted with mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids – Emulsifier

See 471 above.


Sodium Stearoyl-2-lactylate – Emulsifier

See 471 above and 270 (contains Lactic Acid and Stearic Acid). 


Calcium Stearoyl-2-lactylate – Emulsifier

See 471 above and 270 (contains Lactic Acid and Stearic Acid).


Stearyl Tartrate – Emulsifier

See 471 above.


Sorbitan monostearate – Emulsifier and Stabilizer

From stearic acid and is used in dried yeast. Stearic acid is found in vegetable and animal fats, but commercial production is usually syntethic. See also 570.


Sorbitan Tristearate – Emulsifier 

See 491.


Sorbitan Monolaurate – Emulsifier 

See 491.


Sorbitan Monooleate – Emulsifier 

See 491.


Sorbitan Monopalmitate – Emulsifier 

See 491.


Bone phosphate – Anti-caking agent 

E542 is made of animal bones, such as from pig and cattle. Used as anti-caking agent, emulsifier and source of phosphorous in food supplements. Main use, however, is in cosmetics. Not suitable for Vegans.


Stearic Acid Fatty Acid – Anti-caking agent 

Stearic acid is found in vegetable and animal fats, but commercial production is usually synthetic. Often used in dried yeast.


Magnesium stearate, calcium stearate – Emulsifier and Anti-caking agent 

See Stearic Acid 570.


Ferrous lactate – Colouring 

A lactate is a compound formed when a mineral is bound to lactic acid. This is why additives named as a lactate may have been derived from an animal source such as whey (see 270).


Guanylic and guanylate – Flavour enhancer 

Mainly from yeast, but also can be synthetic or from sardines.


Disodium inosinate – Flavour enhancer 

Almost always made from animals and mostly from fish.


Disodium 5’-ribonucleotides – Flavour enhancer 

Often made from animals, but can be made synthetic or by bacteria.


Glycine and its sodium salt – Flavour enhancer 

Can sometimes be prepared from gelatine.


Beeswax – white and yellow – Glazing Agent 

Not suitable for Vegans.


Shellac – Glazing Agent 

Shellac is a resin secreted by an insect called the lac bug Laccifer lacca Kerr (Coccidae). It is often unclear as to whether the insect is killed in the process of commercially obtaining shellac as the resin is left by the incest on various plants. Whether this resin is harvested as a residue or extracted by directly killing the insects needs further investigation. Not suitable for Vegans.


L-cysteine – Improving Agent 

Produced commercially from animal and human hair (and feathers). When produced from animal hair it is almost certain that all L-cysteine is taken from slaughtered animals. When human hair is used it is often sourced from women in third-world countries. L-cysteine is used as an additive in around 5% of bread and other bakery products. It is not used in wholemeal bread or other wholemeal bakery products.


Lanolin – Glazing Agent 

The wax from sheep. It is excreted by the skin of the sheep and extracted from the wool. Not suitable for Vegans.


L-cysteine hydrochloride – Improving Agent

Produced from L-cysteine (see 910 above).


L-cysteine hydrochloride monohydrate – Improving Agent

Produced from L-cysteine (see 910 above).


Lactitol – Sweetener

Derived from Lactose, commercially prepared using whey, so unsuitable for Vegans.


Cholic Acid – Emulsifier (Bile Acid)

Derived from the biles of cows, but also can be prepared synthetically.


Lysozyme – Preservative

An enzyme, that is a normal constituent of tears, saliva, blood and (human) milk. Commercially prepared from chicken eggs or by bacteria.


European Union (EU) legislation requires most additives used in foods to be labeled clearly in the list of ingredients, with their function, followed by either their name or E number. An E number means that it has passed safety tests and has been approved for use in the EU and in Switzerland.

Food additives are grouped by what they do. The additives that you are most likely to come across on food labels are:

- antioxidants (stop food becoming rancid or changing color by reducing the chance of fats combining with oxygen)

- color additives

- emulsifiers, stabilisers, gelling agents and thickeners (help to mix or thicken ingredients)

- flavor enhancers (used to bring out the flavor of foods)

- preservatives (used to keep food safer for longer)

- sweeteners (intense sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar whereas bulk sweeteners have a similar sweetness to sugar)

Other agents:

Acid, acidity regulators, anti-caking agents, anti-foaming agents, bulking agents, carriers and carrier solvents, emulsifying salts, firming agents, flavor enhancers, flour treatment agents, foaming agents, glazing agents, humectants, modified starches, packaging gases, propellants, raising agents and sequestrants.

Most additives are only permitted to be used in certain foods and are subject to specific quantitative limits.

source: http://www.veggieglobal.com

definitely from animal origin

possibly from animal origin

This list does not in any way supplement the law in this area, nor constitute legal guidance.