Many foods contain food additives. They are used to modify or stabilize the structure, taste, aroma, color or shelf life of foods. The use of food additives is governed by a prohibition principle. Their use in all foods is prohibited and subject to a governmental permit. This means that the use of all food additives is prohibited until they are officially allowed. Such permission is only issued after extensive clinical trials and with specification of limiting values.

In particular, acidifying agents, preservatives, aromas and coloring agents are suspected to be the cause of intolerances and symptoms similar to allergies. The symptoms are often caused by a so called pseudo-allergy. In these cases, the immune system is not involved, but the reaction is triggered directly by the additives.

Not only food additives which are classified as harmless to health may be used, but other foods may cause problems in people with allergies and intolerances. A delayed food allergy or a histamine intolerance may also cause these symptoms.

Typical symptoms:

  • Diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations, circulation problems
  • Asthma
  • Skin problems

In the European Union, food additives are stated on food packaging as E numbers. This system is also used in Australia, New Zealand and by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). With the FAO, these numbers are designated as INS numbers (International Numbering System)

E numbers are used for food additives

At present about 320 food additives are approved in the EU. These are assigned so-called E numbers, a code with which the approved substances are numbered and labeled. Food additives may only be used if they have explicitly been approved (prohibition principle subject to approval). The condition for approval is that the food additives are harmless to health and are technically necessary. They are used to improve the taste, appearance and shelf life of the food or to facilitate technological processing. Food additives must always be stated in the list of food ingredients with their so-called “class names”; i.e. the reason for their use must be apparent from this (e.g. flavor enhancer, preservative). In addition, either the name of the substance or the E number is stated. For example, for a spice sauce this may be: “Thickening agent E412” or “Thickening agent guar gum”

Overview of the most important E numbers for food additives:

  • E100 and above: Coloring agents
  • E200 and above: Preservatives
  • E300 and above: Antioxidant and acidifying agents
  • E400 and above: Thickening and moisturizing agents
  • E500 and above: Acidifying agents
  • E600 and above: Flavor enhancers
  • E900 and above: Sweeteners etc.

ImuPro blood test also tests several preservatives and thickening agents, including benzoic acid, sorbic acid, guar gum, carrageen or pectin. Are you interested in an ImuPro test?
Please contact us.