Additives and E numbers

Food additives are used for many reasons, including making processed foods easier to use or ensuring food is preserved safely. Some food additives are naturally derived, others are from synthetic sources.

All food additives must be approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand after rigorous assessment to check their safety. They must also be used in the lowest quantity possible to perform their specific use.

Food additives are listed in the ingredients list by their functional name and also by a number or chemical name, eg flavour enhancer (621 or monosodium glutamate).

Some examples of commonly used food additives include emulsifiers, flavour enhancers, preservatives, food acids, colourings and raising agents.

To find out more about additives and get an alphabetical or numerical list of approved additives, visit the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.