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E Numbers

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86722.  Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:25 am Reply with quote

Q: Technically speaking, what colour is wasabi paste?

Forfeit: Green

Answer:"Brilliant Blue" and "Yellow" "

Also known as "Japanese Horseradish," commercial Wasabi paste is made to look 'greener' with E number E133, Brilliant Blue and E102 (Tartrazine, and FD&C Yellow 5.) These aren't the only colouring E-numbers available: you can even colour your food Silver (E174) and Gold (E175).

The real stuff is a very dull green - almost brown.

Pioneering research is leading scientists to believe that Wasabi, which is a member of the cabbage family - has the ability to cure asthma, cancer and dental problems.

It is thought that it also acts as a deterrent to food poisoning - which is why the Japanese initially started eating it with raw fish.

Wasabi is also the name of a French film starring Jean Reno. Bizarrely, the makers couldn't resist the subtitle - 'la petite moutarde qui monte au nez' or 'the little mustard that gets right up your nose'.


162552.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:13 am Reply with quote

Monosodium Glutamate:

In the European Union, monosodium glutamate is classified as a food additive its e-number is E621. Despite the frenzy over it, every concerned public body that ever investigated it has given it a clean bill of health, including the EU, the United Nations food agencies and the British, Japanese and Australian governments. The fact of the matter is that glutamate is a naturally occurring additive which occurs in almost every food you eat.

The additive was first discovered by Professor Kidunae Ikeda from the physics faculty at the Tokyo Imperial University, who in 1900 realised that the delicious taste which was given to Japanese broths was a whole new taste, umami, and was caused by kombu a type of kelp. By 1909 Ikeda had isolated the chemical as C5H9NO4, glutamate, by mixing it with salt and water he came up with monosodium glutamate, Ikeda had patented the compound and became a very rich man.

We now know that glutamate is present in almost every food stuff, and that the protein is so vital to our functioning that our own bodies produce 40 grams of it a day, human milk contains lots of glutamate which it uses as an alternate enhancement to sugar they are the two flavours which are supposed to get the children drinking.

The scare began with so-called Chinese restaurant syndrome which was first described by Dr Ho Man Kwok which he blamed on MSG. However double blind tests have never found any link between MSGs and the syndrome. It is much more likely that the syndrome is due to other allargins such as prawns. At the University of Western Sydney researchers concluded that 'Chinese restaurant syndrome is an anecdote applied to a variety of postprandial illnesses; rigorous and realistic scientific evidence linking the syndrome to MSG could not be found.'


162553.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:13 am Reply with quote

The E in E-numbers, as mentioned at the meeting, stands for "European".

162617.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:45 am Reply with quote

Do countries outside the EU have an equivalent of E-numbers?

Frederick The Monk
162644.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:50 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Do countries outside the EU have an equivalent of E-numbers?

Indeed the E numbers are just a subset (EU approved additives) of the International Numbering System of the Codex Alimentarius. The INS list is here with the European approved additives marked E and those approved for use in Australia and New Zealand marked A. Note: Australia and NZ don't actually use the prefic A on labelling. The US number additives under the terms of a number of Federal Acts, most commonly the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (1938), hence the labelling for colourings FD&C1 etc...

162863.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:59 am Reply with quote

I've been having a look at breasts, as expected, and the constituents of the milk thereof. It proves far, far too complex to get any kind of meaningful E-number list.

There are, however, a few other things that we might be able to have fun with:

E 170 calcium carbonate (chalk cliffs, limestone)
E 171 titanium dioxide (most of the moon)
E 172 iron oxide (rust)
E 173 Aluminium
E 174 Silver
E 175 Gold
E 551 Silicon dioxide (sand)
E 53b Talcum powder
E 901 Beeswax
E 941 Nitrogen (air)
E 948 Oxygen (air)

But the winner has to be good old E 904, shellac. This is made from the secretions of a small insect called the 'lac' that it uses to glue itself to the bark of a certain type of tree in Thailand.

When harvested and purified, it is a resin with thermoplastic properties, so you can make lots of nice platic-y things from it. It's also shiny and edible, so the following list of things that it's used for is rather odd:

Pre-1950s records
Pill coatings
The wood-varnish on AK-47s
Picture frames
Re-waxing the surface of apples after cleaning

162874.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:27 am Reply with quote

More e numbers the last time this came up in post 145999

Note that E901 is beeswax, both white and yellow :)

162875.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:30 am Reply with quote

Thanks Dr B, I missed that whole discussion, which is a shame as it could have saved me a lot of work last week.

162876.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:32 am Reply with quote


I was surprised just how far down the list it had dropped. Mined ewe, it was a very brief discussion.

162954.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am Reply with quote

There I was, lying on the E553b-fine E551, sucking down the fresh E948 and looking up at the beautiful E174y E171, when...

162966.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:43 am Reply with quote

It's so hard for parents these days. They try their hardest to keep E numbers out of their kids, and then they find that the very air they breathe is packed full of E941, with significant amounts of E948. Not to mention the traces of E938 (0.934%), E290 (0.0314%), and E939 (0.000524%).

Frederick The Monk
162978.  Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:30 am Reply with quote

Shall I tell the Daily Mail?

I'm sure we could also do something with the fact that the moon is largely made of an E number.

163220.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:10 am Reply with quote


172638.  Tue May 08, 2007 5:15 am Reply with quote

A timely article in the Guardian today:

Food safety experts have advised parents to eliminate a series of additives from their children's diet while they await the publication of a new study that is understood to link these ingredients to behaviour problems in youngsters.


The colours, tested on both three-year-olds and eight-to-nine-year-olds in the new study, were tartrazin (E102), Ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura redAC (E129). The preservative tested was sodium benzoate (E211)

Although these additives are widely used in the UK and are approved as safe and legal by the EU, some of the colours are banned in Scandinavian countries and the US.

172639.  Tue May 08, 2007 5:16 am Reply with quote

online article which would have saved me a lot of typing here


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