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Non Vegetarian Preservative Ingredients and Food Additives

Vegetarian Non-Vegetarian Food Labels

Identifying food additives

It can be difficult to determine if some types of additives are derived from animals or not. This is because it all depends on how the additive has been manufactured in the first place. In Europe and Australia food additives are listed by a labelling system called "E Numbers". However, the use of E Numbers on ingredients lists has become unfashionable, particularly in the UK. This is because the representation of E Numbers tend to be associated with the negative health affects on the consumer. Psycologically, it seems that printing out the full name of the additive (even though the additve names themselves seem completly "foreign" and unpronouncable!), gives the consumer more confidence about their purchase. 

Below is a list of additives arranged by their E Numbers, which either always contain animals or those which sometimes may - depending on how the additive was sourced to begin with. All other E Numbers not listed here are to the best of the knowledge always vegetarian.

Numbers with a * means that the additive is definitely of animal origin.
All other numbers are sometimes and therefore possibly from animal origin.

E Number
Additive Name
Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines Natural Red 4 - colouring
A colouring that makes many foods red. Found in alcoholic drinks, fruit pie fillings, jams, many sweets and even cheeses. Cochineal is made from the female insect found on cacti called Dactylopius Coccus. She is boiled alive or left to "cook" alive through sun exposure. Cochineal is the result of crushing scales of the insect into a red powder.
Carbon Black, Vegetable Carbons - colouring
If the description on product packaging says "Vegetable Carbons", then it is most likely free of animal derivatives. (but could be derived from GM crops!) But if the additive is described as "Carbon Black", it 's more likely to be derived from various parts of animals.
Canthaxanthin (Natural Orange Colour Xanthophylls) - colouring.
Be aware that although Canthaxanthin is usually derived from plant material, it can sometimes be made from fish and invertebrates with hard shells.
Potassium Nitrate (Saltpetre) - Preservative
Saltpetre is usually assumed to be of natural origins but it can be artificially manufactured from waste animal matter. Potassium nitrate is often found in smoked type cheeses - so even if the cheese contains vegetable rennet and not animal rennet, it may contain potassium nitrate made from animal waste, so check with the cheese manufacturer to determine the source of the potassium nitrate.
Lactic Acid - Antioxidant
Can be obtained from whey so Vegan's should determine the source of the ingredient by contacting manufacturers. Lactic Acid can be found in carbonated drinks, beer, dressings and various tinned products.
Lecithins - Emulsifier and Stabilizer
Some Lecithin contains egg yolks so not suitable for Vegans. Other main sources of Lecithin are from soya bean oil and is likely to be genetically modified (if sourced from countries such as the US) Lecithin can also be directly obtained from animal fat.
Sodium Lactate - Antioxidant
Sodium Lactate is the salt of Lactic Acid. (see E270 above)
Potassium Lactate - Antioxidant / Acidity Regulator
Another type of salt derived from Lactic Acid. (see E270 above)
Calcium Lactate - Antioxidant
Another type of salt derived from Lactic Acid. (see E270 above)
Glycerol (Humectant, Solvent, Sweet Glycerin) - Sweetener
There is contention surrounding the origins of Glycerol. Through various industrial reselling practices, a majority of glycerine originates as a by-product of soap manufacturing. Many soaps are manufactured using animal fats. This indicates that even though glycerine occurs naturally in plants, what ends up in food and soap products mostly originates from animals.
430 - 436
Polyoxyethylene - Emulsifiers and Stabilisers
E numbers 430 to 436 are various types of polyoxyethlene:
E430 Polyoxyethylene (8) stearate (Emulsifier / Stabiliser)
E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate (Emulsifier)
E432 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monolaurate (polysorbate 20 Emulsifier)
E433 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (polysorbate 80 Emulsifier)
E434 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monopalmitate (polysorbate 40 Emulsifier)
E435 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (polysorbate 60 Emulsifier)
E436 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan tristearate (polysorbate 65 Emulsifier)
These additives are very unlikely to originate from animals as they are normally derived from various types of fruit. It may still be worth checking with manufactures as to the exact origins of the ingredients which make up these Emulsifiers and stabilisers.
Gelatine - Emulsifier / Gelling Agent
You may not find this E number 441 on food ingredients listings anymore because instead of an additive, Gelatine has now been classed as food (made of animal skin and hoofs) in it's own right. Remember, all types of gelatine are animal based and can be found in dairy products like yoghurts, plus many kinds of confectionery, jellies and other sweets.
Ammonium phosphatides - Emulsifier
Amonium phosphatides can sometimes be made using Glycerol (see 422 above) Therefore the finished additive may contain animal fat.
Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty acids - Emulsifier / Anti-caking Agent
As 470 is derived from fatty acids, these may originate from animal sources.
Magnesium Stearate - Emulsifier / Anti-caking Agent
This is another magnesium salt from fatty acids and like 470a, may originate from animal sources.
Mono- and Diglycerides of fatty acids (glyceryl monostearate, glyceryl distearate) - Emulsifier
Because E471 is derived from Glycerine (Glycerol) (see E422 above), there may be a slim chance that E471 might contain animal fats.
472 a - f
E472 A to F are emulsifiers related to the mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids family:
E472a Acetic acid esters
E472b Lactic acid esters
E472c Citric acid esters
E472d Tartaric acid esters
E472e Mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters
E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters
Because the E472 family is derived from Glycerine (Glycerol) (see E422 above), there may be a slim chance that any of these might contain animal fats.

Sucrose esters of fatty acids - Emulsifier
E473 is a sucrose ester of E471, being fatty acids, which may be derived from animals.
Sucroglyceride - Emulsifier
E474 is a glyceride of sucrose ester of E471, being fatty acids, which may be derived from animals.
Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids - Emulsifier
Being an ester of fatty acids which may be derived from animals.
Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate - Emulsifier
As this is produced from glycol esters the glycerol can be sourced from a by-product of animal fats in the manufacturing of soap.
Propane-1, 2-diol esters of fatty acids, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids - Emulsifier
The glycol esters of fatty acids can be sourced from a by-product of animal fats in the manufacturing of soap.
Lactylated fatty acid esters of glycerol and propane-1 - Emulsifier
See 477 above
Thermally oxidized soya bean oil interacted with mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids - Emulsifier
See 471 above
Sodium Stearoyl-2-lactylate - Emulsifier
See 471 above and 270 (contains Lactic Acid and Stearic Acid)
Calcium Stearoyl-2-lactylate - Emulsifier
See 471 above and 270 (contains Lactic Acid and Stearic Acid)
Stearyl tartrate - Emulsifier
See 471 above
Sorbitan monostearate - Emulsifier and Stabilizer
From stearic acid and is used in dried yeast. Stearic acid is found in vegetable and animal fats, but commercial production is usually synthetic. See also 570
Sorbitan Tristearate - Emulsifier
See 491
Sorbitan Monolaurate - Emulsifier
See 491
Sorbitan Monooleate - Emulsifier
See 491
Sorbitan Monopalmitate - Emulsifier
See 491
Bone phosphate - Anti-caking agent
Stearic Acid Fatty Acid - Anti-caking agent
Stearic acid is found in vegetable and animal fats, but commercial production is usually synthetic. Often used in dried yeast.
Magnesium stearate, calcium stearate - Emulsifier and Anti-caking agent
See Stearic Acid 570
Ferrous lactate - Colouring
A lactate is a compound formed when a mineral is bound to lactic acid. This is why additives named as a lactate may have been derived from an animal source such as whey. (see 270)
Disodium inosinate - Flavour enhancer
Almost always made from animals and fish
Disodium 5'-ribonucleotides - Flavour enhancer
Often made from animals
Glycine and its sodium salt - Flavour enhancer
Can sometimes be prepared from gelatine.
Beeswax - white and yellow - Glazing Agent
Not suitable for Vegans.
Shellac - Glazing Agent
Shellac is a resin secreted by an insect called the lac bug Laccifer lacca Kerr (Coccidae) . It is often unclear as to whether the insect is killed in the process of commercially obtaining shellac as the resin is left by the insect on various plants. Whether this resin is harvested as a residue or extracted by directly killing the insects needs further investigation.
L-cysteine - Improving agent
Produced commercially from animal and human hair (and feathers). When produced from animal hair it is almost certain that all L-cysteine is taken from slaughtered animals. When human hair is used it is often sourced from women in third-world countries. L-cysteine is used as an additive in around 5% of bread and other bakery products. It is not used in wholemeal bread or other wholemeal bakery products.
L-cysteine hydrochloride - Improving agent
Produced from L-cystine (see 910 above)
L-cysteine hydrochloride monohydrate - Improving agent
Produced from L-cystine (see 910 above)
Lactitol - Sweetener
Derived from Lactose, commercially prepared using whey, so unsuitable for vegans.

Preservative ingredients that are typically Non-Vegetarian:
carminic acid
cis-9-octadecenoic acid
hydrogenated tallow
lard oil
myristic acid
n-hexadecanoic acid
n-tetradecanoic acid
pancreatic extract
pork fat
pork oil
tallow flakes

Preservative ingredients that may or may not be Non-Vegetarian:
activated carbon
adipic acid
calcium stearate
cane sugar
capric acid
clarifying agent
fatty acid
fining agent
folic acid
free-flow agent
hexanedioic acid
invert sugar
invert sugar syrup
magnesium stearate
modified food starch
modified starch
natural flavor
n-decanoic acid
n-octadecanoic acid
polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate
polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate
polysorbate 60
polysorbate 80
processing aid
pteroyl glutamic acid
refined sugar
stearic acid
sucrose polyester
sugar syrup, invert
vitamin A
vitamin A acetate
vitamin A palmitate
vitamin A propionate

Hope the above information will the vegetarians to know whether they are really not eating any non-vegetarian dish.
Vegetarian for life

The following posts are also good for vegetarians to read:
1. Vegetarians should not to consume food items with Varakh (Silver Foil) on it

2. Must Read for vegetarians who eat from food chain like McDonalds etc

3. Famous vegetarian personalities and their thoughts
Suitable for Vegetarians

*** Hare Krishna ***