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Eating: E numbers and Chinese Food

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135693.  Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:21 pm Reply with quote

There's a thread running in E Series Talk about E numbers which ought to be a productive line of enquiry. Also, Smiley and Suze discuss MSG and Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, starting at post 135539.

135760.  Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:30 am Reply with quote

Great minds and all that. I touched on it in August:

145999.  Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:42 am Reply with quote

Various lists of E numbers on 'tinterweb. Here's one in numerical order:

I was quite pleased to find that E111 is not only a useful document to receive medical treatment whilst abroad but also an orange food colouring. Sadly no E45 though (another joke shot down in flames).

Whilst generally portrayed in the more sensationalist media as evil chemicals that cause hyperactivity in kids, I'm sure everyone knows that everything that is permissible in foodstuffs for human consumption in the EU is assigned an E number*. Here are some interesting ones:

E170 Calcium carbonate (the common cause of limescale in kettles)
E173 Aluminium
E174 Silver
E175 Gold
E181 Tannin (as found in tea)
E220 Sulphur dioxide (cause of acid rain)
E236 Formic acid (found in stings of bees and ants)
E260 Acetic acid (vinegar)
E290 Carbon dioxide
E300 Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
E330 Citric acid
E406 Agar (the stuff in a petri dish)
E441 Gelatine
E507 Hydrochloric acid
E513 Sulphuric acid
E524 Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda)
E553b Talc
E901 Beeswax, both white and yellow
E904 Shellac
E913 Lanolin (sheep wool grease)
E925 Chlorine
E938 Argon
E939 Helium
E941 Nitrogen
E942 Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
E948 Oxygen

Questions referring to using E513 in your car battery, E553b after a shower, or E942 for livening up a party are left as an exercise for the reader.

* Although, confusingly, some really common ones, like sodium chloride (common salt) and sucrose come under the section of "E numbers with no E prefix". This is confusing since, as well as lacking the E prefix, these substances don't seem to have numbers associated with them either. Kind of missing the point of an E number there. Sadly, then, no jokes about E<blah> and E260 on your chips.


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