Know : Food Additives, How they are numbered and Few scariest additives!

food additives

Various Food Additives

Acids – Food acids are added to make flavors “sharper”, and also act as preservatives and antioxidants. Common food acids include vinegarcitric acidtartaric acidmalic acidfumaric acid, and lactic acid.

Acidity regulators – Acidity regulators are used to change or otherwise control the acidity and alkalinity of foods.

Anticaking agents – Anticaking agents keep powders such as milk powder from caking or sticking.

Antifoaming agents – Antifoaming agents reduce or prevent foaming in foods.

Antioxidants – Antioxidants such as vitamin C act as preservatives by inhibiting the effects of oxygen on food, and can be beneficial to health.

Bulking agents – Bulking agents such as starch are additives that increase the bulk of a food without affecting its nutritional value.

Food coloring – Colorings are added to food to replace colors lost during preparation, or to make food look more attractive.

Color retention agents – In contrast to colorings, color retention agents are used to preserve a food’s existing color.

Emulsifiers – Emulsifiers allow water and oils to remain mixed together in an emulsion, as in mayonnaiseice cream, and homogenized milk.

Flavors – Flavors are additives that give food a particular taste or smell, and may be derived from natural ingredients or created artificially.

Flavor enhancers – Flavor enhancers enhance a food’s existing flavors. They may be extracted from natural sources (through distillationsolvent extractionmaceration, among other methods) or created artificially.

Flour treatment agents – Flour treatment agents are added to flour to improve its color or its use in baking.

Glazing agents – Glazing agents provide a shiny appearance or protective coating to foods.

Humectants – Humectants prevent foods from drying out.

Tracer gas – Tracer gas allow for package integrity testing to prevent foods from being exposed to atmosphere, thus guaranteeing shelf life.

Preservatives  – Preservatives prevent or inhibit spoilage of food due to fungibacteria and other microorganisms.

Stabilizers – 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.

Sweeteners – Sweeteners are added to foods for flavoring. Sweeteners other than sugar are added to keep the food energy (calories) low, or because they have beneficial effects for diabetes mellitus and tooth decay and diarrhea.

Thickeners – Thickeners are substances which, when added to the mixture, increase its viscosity without substantially modifying its other properties.

Caffeine and other GRAS (generally recognized as safe) additives such as sugar and salt are not required to go through the regulation process.


How they are numbered?


E numbers are codes for chemicals which can be used as food additives (Applicable to Europion Union and Switzerland only). Every country may can different Numbers / Codes for Food Additives similar to these. However these are the common code for food additives. (click on the full list to see the detailed chemical names of the additives)

E number range Subranges Description
100–199 (full list)Colours 100–109 yellows
110–119 oranges
120–129 reds
130–139 blues & violets
140–149 greens
150–159 browns & blacks
160–199 gold and others
200–299 (full list)Preservatives 200–209 sorbates
210–219 benzoates
220–229 sulphites
230–239 phenols & formates (methanoates)
240–259 nitrates
260–269 acetates (ethanoates)
270–279 lactates
280–289 propionates (propanoates)
290–299 others
300–399 (full list)Antioxidants & acidity regulators 300–305 ascorbates (vitamin C)
306–309 Tocopherol (vitamin E)
310–319 gallates & erythorbates
320–329 lactates
330–339 citrates & tartrates
340–349 phosphates
350–359 malates & adipates
360–369 succinates & fumarates
370–399 others
400–499 (full list)Thickenersstabilisers & emulsifiers 400–409 alginates
410–419 natural gums
420–429 other natural agents
430–439 polyoxyethene compounds
440–449 natural emulsifiers
450–459 phosphates
460–469 cellulose compounds
470–489 fatty acids & compounds
490–499 others
500–599 (full list)pH regulators & anti-caking agents 500–509 mineral acids & bases
510–519 chlorides & sulphates
520–529 sulphates & hydroxides
530–549 alkali metal compounds
550–559 silicates
570–579 stearates & gluconates
580–599 others
600–699 (full list)Flavour enhancers 620–629 glutamates & guanylates
630–639 inosinates
640–649 others
700–799 (full list)Antibiotics 700–713  
900–999 (full list)Miscellaneous 900–909 waxes
910–919 synthetic glazes
920–929 improving agents
930–949 packaging gases
950–969 sweeteners
990–999 foaming agents
1100–1599 (full list)Additional chemicals 1100–1599 New chemicals that do not fall into standard classification schemes

NB: Not all examples of a class fall into the given numeric range. Moreover, many chemicals, particularly in the E400–499 range, have a variety of purposes.


15. Scary Ingredient #1: Olestra:

 A fat substitute synthesized by Procter & Gamble. Because human digestive enzymes can’t break down the big molecules, Olestra contributes 0 calories to your diet.

Why it’s scary: In the late ’90s, Frito-Lay released Olestra-enhanced WOW chips and Procter & Gamble introduced Fat Free Pringles. Both products were required to carry warning labels to notify customers about the risk of “loose stools.” Within 4 years, some 15,000 people had dialed into a hotline set up specifically to handle adverse-reaction complaints. Apparently the complaints didn’t move the FDA, because in 2003, the administration revoked the warning-label mandate. If you want to take your chances with diarrhea, go ahead, but first consider this: Olestra also appears to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb some crucial nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene. To counteract the effect, processes add some nutrients back, but it’s unlikely that all the blocked nutrients are adequately replaced.

Where you’ll find it: Lay’s Light chips, Pringles Light chips

14. Scary Ingredient #2: Caramel Coloring:

An artificial pigment created by heating sugars. Frequently, this process includes ammonia.

Why it’s scary: Caramel coloring shows up in everything from soft drinks and sauces to breads and pastries. When made from straight sugar, it’s relatively benign. But when produced with ammonia it puts off 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, chemicals that have been linked to cancer in mice. The risk is strong enough that the California government, a bellwether for better food regulation, categorized 4-methylimidazole as “known to cause cancer” earlier this year. Unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose whether their coloring is made with ammonia, so you’d be wise to avoid it as much as you can.

Where you’ll find it: Colas and other soft drinks, La Choy soy sauce, Stove Top stuffing mix

13. Scary Ingredient #3: Saccharin:

 An artificial sweetener discovered by accident in the 1870s.

 Why it’s scary: Studies have linked saccharin to bladder tumors in rats, and in 1977, the FDA required warning labels on all saccharin-containing foods. In 2000, the agency changed its stance and allowed saccharin to be sold without warning labels. But that doesn’t make it entirely safe. A 2008 Purdue study found that replacing sugar with saccharin in rats’ diets made them gain more weight, proving once again that you should be aware of these faux fat foes.

 Where you’ll find it: Sweet ‘N Low, TaB cola

12. Scary Ingredient #4: Potassium Bromate:

 A compound that conditions flour and helps bread puff up during baking.

 Why it’s scary: Potassium bromate causes thyroid and kidney tumors in rats, and it’s banned from food use in many countries. In California, products containing potassium bromate are required to carry a cancer warning. Fortunately, negative publicity has made the additive relatively rare, but until the FDA banishes it, you should remain on the lookout.

 Where you’ll find it: Johnny Rockets Hoagie Roll

11. Scary Ingredient #5: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT):

Petroleum-derived antioxidants and preservatives.

Why they’re scary: The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” yet the FDA allows it to be used anyway. BHT is considered less dangerous, but in animal research, it too has resulted in cancer. Oddly, the chemicals aren’t even always necessary; in most cases they can be replaced with vitamin E.

Where you’ll find it: Goya lard, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Orbit gum

10. Scary Ingredient #6: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil :

 A semi-solid fat created when food processors force hydrogen into unsaturated fatty acids.

 Why it’s scary: Partially hydrogenated fats are the principle sources of trans fat in the American diet, and a Harvard study estimated that trans fat causes 70,000 heart attacks every year. The good news: Partially hydrogenated oils are beginning to slowly retreat from our food. Progressive jurisdictions like New York City are starting to restrict the allowable amounts in restaurants, and many chains are switching to healthier frying oil. Still, the battle isn’t over. At Long John Silver’s, for example, there are still 17 menu items with more than 2 grams of the stuff. According to the American Heart Association, that’s about the maximum you should consume in a single day.

 Where you’ll find it: McDonald’s McChicken, Long John Silver’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

9. Scary Ingredient #7: Sulfites:

 Preservatives that maintain the color of food, and by releasing sulfur dioxide, prevent bacterial growth.

 Why it’s scary: Humans have used sulfites to keep food fresh for thousands of years, but some people—especially asthma sufferers—experience breathing difficulties when exposed. In the 1980s, unregulated use resulted in at least a dozen deaths, prompting the FDA to slap warning labels on wine bottles and develop new guidelines for proper use. Now restaurants can no longer soak fresh ingredients in sulfites. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been no known deaths since the new legislation took hold. The bottom line: If you’re among the majority of people not sensitive to sulfites, consumption won’t hurt you. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor for a test.

 Where you’ll find it: Wine, Sun-Maid Mixed Fruit, Jolly Ranchers, Fig Newtons


8. Scary Ingredient #8: Azodicarbonamide:

 A synthetic yellow-orange dough conditioner.

 Why it’s scary: This chemical is used most frequently in the production of industrial foam plastic, and although the FDA has approved its use for food in the States, the United Kingdom has labeled it a potential cause of asthma. In a review of 47 studies on azodicarbonamide, the World Health Organization concluded that it probably does trigger asthmatic symptoms. The WHO concluded, “exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible.” I’ll put it more concisely: Avoid it.

 Where you’ll find it: Dunkin’ Donuts bagels, McDonald’s burger buns

7. Scary Ingredient #9: Carrageenan:

 A thickener and emulsifier extracted from seaweed.

Why it’s scary: Seaweed is actually good for you, but carrageenan is a mere seaweed byproduct. Through animal studies, it has been linked to cancer, colon trouble, and ulcers. It isn’t certain that carrageenan harms humans, but avoiding it is clearly the safer option. Most studies examined degraded forms of the additive, and research from the University of Iowa found that carrageenan could be degraded through the normal digestive process.

Where you’ll find it: Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Bars, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, Creamsicles

6. Scary Ingredient #10: Ammonium Sulfate:

An inorganic salt that occurs naturally near active volcanoes and is used commercially to nourish yeast and help bread rise.

Why it’s scary: This nitrogen-rich compound is most often used as fertilizer, and also appears commonly in flame retardants. Thankfully, the ingredient only sounds scary—a 2006 Japanese rat study found the additive to be non-carcinogenic. Both the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the FDA deem it safe.

Where you’ll find it: Nature’s Own bread, Subway rolls


5. Scary Ingredient #11: Aspartame:

A zero-calorie artificial sweetener made by combing two amino acids with methanol. Most commonly used in diet soda, aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar.

Why it’s scary: Over the past 30 years, the FDA has received thousands of consumer complaints due mostly to neurological symptoms such as headaches dizziness, memory loss, and, in rare cases, epileptic seizures. Many studies have shown the sweetener to be completely harmless, while other have linked the additive to cancer. A 2006 Italian study found that rats fed high daily doses of aspartame—the equivalent of nearly 3 liters for a 150-pound human—experienced higher levels of lymphomas, leukemia, and other types of cancer. Still, after reviewing the study, the FDA concluded that the results weren’t strong enough to warrant the confectionary chemical’s removal from the market.

Where you’ll find it: Nutra-Sweet, Equal, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi

4. Scary Ingredient #12: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG):

The salt of the amino acid glutamic acid, used to enhance the savory quality of foods. MSG alone has little flavor, and exactly how it enhances other foods is unknown.

Why it’s scary: After forty years of scrutiny, research has yet to reach a definitive verdict on MSG. Studies have shown that injecting the amino acid into mice causes brain-cell damage, but the FDA believes these results are not typical for humans. Still, the administration fields complaints every year for nausea, headaches, chest pains, and weakness. It could be that the results are limited to people with acute MSG sensitivity, so the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to use it.

Where you’ll find it: Hormel Chili, Hamburger Helper, Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing


3. Scary Ingredient #13: Nitrates and nitrites:

 Nitrogen-based compounds that are essential for digestion in small amounts. They occur naturally but are synthetically produced for use in fertilizer and as food additives. They’re commonly used to cure processed meats.

Why they’re scary: Nitrates and nitrites have a tendency to fuse with amino acids to become carcinogenic nitrosamines. Ironically, the processed meats into which nitrates are commonly added are rich with amino acids, making nitrosamine formation very likely. In addition to concerns about cancer, increased nitrate and nitrite intake has been linked to deaths in Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s patients. Despite the risks, the valuable use of nitrates and nitrites as inhibitors of botulism warrant their acceptance as food additives in the eyes of the FDA.

Where you’ll find it: Oscar Meyer hot dogs, Hormel bacon, Hillshire Farm deli meat


2. Scary Ingredient #14: Blue #2:

An artificial dye used to color food. It can be used alone or mixed with other dyes, and the goal is typically to suggest the appearance of natural food.

Why it’s scary: A study published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest showed that the ingestion of Blue #2 led to increases in tumor development in the brain and mammary glands in lab rats. The FDA dismissed these findings, citing a variety of nebulous weaknesses in the study’s methods. The bottom line: whether or not artificial dyes are harmful, the foods they appear in are the most heavily processed, nutritionally bankrupt foods in the supermarket.

Where you’ll find it: Fruit Loops, Skittles, Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip frosting


1. Scary Ingredient #15: Paraben:

Parabens are used to prevent mold and yeast formation in food, and they’re also used in cosmetics, toothpaste, and personal lubricant. Although they exist in nature, the parabens used in commercial products are created synthetically.

Why it’s scary: It’s been documented that parabens act as mild estrogens, and according to the Environmental Working Group, they can disrupt the natural balance of hormones in your body. In a Japanese study, male rats fed propyl paraben daily for four weeks suffered lower sperm and testosterone production, and other studies have found parabens present in breast cancer tissues.

Where you’ll find it: Baskin Robbins sundaes

Courtesy and Source : Wikipedia &


We will come up with more articles soon on this, Please comment your concerns and feedback to help us post more appropriate stuffs.

Appreciate Talent : Acid Rain Prevention : Kumar Saurabh & Astha Srivastva

Kumar Saurabh

Kumar Saurabh  a Class 10 student along with his friend Astha Srivastva a student of Class 9, from Sunbeam School, Lahartara, Varanasi, India has come up with his Idea to prevent the effects of Acid rain and can preserve small farms and gardens for the effects of Acid rains.

Driven by questions, these two young talents searching out for the answers. They have worked on Acid Rain prevention and successfully got positive results for their efforts. 

Kumar’s dream is to win  the INTEL ISEF GRAND AWARD, he believes that he will contribute back to the benefits of the society in the future through his inventions. “I have a dream to make maximum no.of patents at very small age” said Saurabh, who won regional level science exhibitions.

And Astha the multitalented on the other hand has a vision to become a renowned lawyer , now supports Kumar in his science projects.

Their Project work on Acid rain Prevention – As shared with us.


Acid rain and the problems caused by acid rain is already an environmental problem in many areas of the world and will become a global problem soon. That is why is is foolish and criminal on our part to not protect our garden and farms by the effect of acid rain. More than 20 thousand of plants, crops and 2000000 m deep of soil in 1 hectare of land are polluted every year. We have developed a design that is feasible, cost effective and efficient to filter purifies the acid rain and increases the pH of acid rain using chemical biological products. It consists of two units (1) a water collecting system from all over field using biodegradable transparent plastics and netted cloth.(2) from the middle of the plastic there is 2 PVC pipes attached fist PVC pipes filters the water using the ancient gravel method second purifies using concept of acid+base→salt +water. This complete setup is called ACID rain Bufferer.


Most of the plants, crops get to die through soil pollution which generally caused by soil acidification due to acid rain which make soil barren resulting food insecurity, soil pollution and creates disturbance in ecological balance. It is possible to reduce soil pollution and physiological damage to plants by making a device that filters direct falling of acid rain to normal clean healthy rain and filters its harmful components in useful product for plants and crops?


If a water collecting system from all over the garden of the x size is placed in a field and filtration units are attached to it using PVC pipes then the physiological damage is reduced by 100% and soil pollution by75%.



Previous research:

Researchers have been studying the effect of acid rain on plants and soil. Most of this research seeks the buffering ability of plants leaves and soil from Acid rain.

What is acid rain?

Acid rain is rain that is usually acidic; meaning it posses elevated levels of hydrogen ions (low pH). It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emission of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide which react with water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acid.

Acid rain has generally H2SO4 and HNO3. H2SO4is major and HNO3 is minor acid.

The government has made special efforts since 1970s to reduce the release of SO2 into the atmosphere with positive results.

Clean unpolluted rain has an acidic pH, but usually no lower than 5.7, because CO2and water in the air react together to form carbonic acid, a weak acid. Carbonic acid then can ionize in water forming low concentrations of hydronium and carbonate ions.

How acid rain affects plants and soil?

The environmental problem caused by acid rain is generally has much more effect on plants, crops and soil.

The acid rain affects the plants in two ways:

1) Physiological damage to plant cells/plant tissues

2) Geochemical shifts in soils and soil waters that impede growth by affecting absorption of nutrients by roots and/or by leaching nutrients from the soil.

1. Affects different plants differently and certain tissues of the plants are more susceptible than others. Young rootlets and leaf shoots are typically very sensitive to low pH conditions but other aspects of the plant can be harmed as well. 2. Affects the composition and makeup of soil water, which is a main source of nutrients for the plant and soil substrates themselves. Excess acid in soils can dissolve soil substrate, leading to erosion, cause de-adsorption and migration out of the growth zone of important trace metals and nutrients (especially ammonium ions) and release to solution of toxic quantities of other metals (such as Fe).

Other problems caused by acid rain

Soil acidification is generally caused by acid rain which makes the soil acidic in nature which leads to barren land.

A recent survey tells that soil erosion carries away a volume of soil equivalent to one meter deep over 2000000 hectares of land.

A report prepared by UNEP, UNDP, FAO. Analyses that effect of acid rain on plants, crops and soil is costing at least us$ 10 billion a year in South Asia which is equivalent to 7% of south Asias agricultural GDP.

How acid rain affects farmer’s life?

Let us take an example if a farmer has a small plot say 1000m2and he grows rice in that field equivalent to 10000 kg. Acid rain takes place and 2500 kg of rice plants have been damaged in the above example we can clearly see that how it affects farmer’s life.


AIM: To test the efficiency of ARB by observing the plants and testing the soil ph, water pH.

Independent variable:

  • Duration of rain.
  • Duration of sunlight.
  • pH of rain.
  • Amount of rainfall.

Dependent variable:

  • Growth of plant.
  • Texture of soil.

Controlled variable:

  • All floors with same width and height.
  • Plastic nets of the same size.
  • PVC pipes of same size.
  • Plants tested should be same.
  • Amount of water provided to plants should be same.
  • Type of soil should be same.
  • Plants should be planted at the same time.

Experimental group:

For testing our prototype we selected a plot in our garden of 6m sq and divided into two equal halves each of 3m sq and planted a plant of chili in both the area.

Group1: acid rain was watered to plant while placing ARB.

Group2: acid rain was watered to plants without placing ARB.

Materials required:

(For prototype built with different materials-consisting of 2 floors, aluminium boxes etc.

Control group:  Plants in group2.

  • Field of size 6m sq divided into two equal halves.
  • Plants of chili.
  • 8 wooden planks.
  • 8 bamboos.
  • Aluminium sheet.
  • Netted cloth
  • Biodegradable transparent plastic.
  • Water
  • Sulphuric acid.
  • Ammonia crystals or ammonia solution.
  • Green algae.
  • Gravels of different size.
  • Bituminous coal.
  • PVC pipe.


  1. Mark an area of 6m sq and divide it into 2 equal halves of area 3m sq each.
  2. Plant a chili plant in both divided areas except in the middle.
  3. Build a prototype of ARB.
  1. 4.     Take ammonia and wrap it in a cloth and hang it in middle of PVC pipe.
  1. Now prepare acid rain and water it every day two times to both Ares.
  2. Observe for 12 days.
  3. Record your data.

Testing: The plants of the control group received acidic water without placing a system of ARB. The plants of EG received clean healthy rain because ARB filters+purifies the acid solution and plants grown were healthier than controlled group plants this proved our design is feasible and efficient. We also measured the plant growth and tested pH of soil.


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine whether the plants and soil get affected by acid solution while placing ARB and without placing ARB.

We measured the growth till 6 days and tested soil texture, pH on the 12th day.

To get accurate results we took the plants from EG-1(with ARB) and EG-2 i.e. controlled group.


Average Plants growth





Average pH of soil



After noting the data we observed what we expected. There was more difference in plants, soil in EG-1 than EG-2 i.e. Controlled group. We observed that acid solution when poured in the area of EG-1(with ARB) filters purifies the acid solution to a pH of 5.6,6.2 and sometimes 7 the values above were not fixed but they are not acidic in nature and uses its acid as ammonia sulphate(fertilizer) which was stored in the 4th channel of filtration chamber.

We also observed:

  • The growth of plants was much healthier in EG-1 than EG-2.
  • The soil texture was very good in EG-1 than EG-2.
  • The soil pH was 6.2-5.6 in EG-1 and soil pH in EG-2 was 4.4-4.6



Images of EG-2(without ARB)


Images of EG-1(with ARB)

Clearly we can see the different ion between EG-1 and EG-2 image.


The result of this experiment supported our hypothesis and provide our design feasible and efficient. The Acid Rain Bufferer while placing it the field and it reduced physiological damage to plants by 100% and soil pollution by 75%.

With a little more development and research it can reduce the soil pollution by100% and can be patented.

The various gardeners and farmers can use this design in their garden or field and can save the damage to plants, crops and soil and use the ammonia sulphate in their field as fertilizers. As a result there will be more increase in the production and more plants and soil can be saved.

It can also reduce the load on our government as more production will be there so, there will be less chance of food insecurity and country GDP can also increase.

This is a step towards protecting the environment and maintains ecological balance in the nature. If this design is set up in all over the country it can reduce the death of farmers due to debt .It can reduce the plants death by 50% and soil pollution by 25%.thus can reduce global warming.


Cost of 8 bamboos=80Rs

Cost 8 wooden planks=40Rs

Cost of Netted cloth=50Rs

Cost of biodegradable plastic of 1m2=5 for 6m2=6×5=30Rs

Total estimated cost=1000Rs for 1000m2area.



Note : For any queries, feedback and further information you can contact

Kumar Saurabh

Class 10, Sunbeam School, Lahartara, Varanasi, India.

Contact no.: 950690164, 8052845206, 9554417237


Facebook :

We at Propel Steps feel so delighted to give them a motivation for their dedicated work and we are privileged to share their project model and wish them great success ahead. We will be there with them on every milestone they cross. The copyrights of the process / project belong solely to Kumar Saurabh.