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E number

For the mathematical constantant see: E (mathematical constant).

E numbers are short form definitions for food additives and are usually found on food labels. The 'E' prefix indicates the additive is approved for use in the European Union.

The addition of E-numbered additives to food products has been an issue of ongoing health concern for many years, many are believed to be linked to disorders including allergies, nervous diseases, bowel disorders, cancer, heart disease and arthritis. In more recent years further concerns have been raised that many of these additives may be of genetically modified (GM) origin. Some E-numbered additives may also be considered to be unsuitable for halal, vegetarian or vegan diets.

("E605" is not an E number; it stands for Parathion, a highly lethal insecticide. It is obviously not a food additive; in this case the "E" stands for Entwicklungsnummer (German for developement number), not for Europe.)

See also: List of food additives, Organic food

Abbreviations used in this article