I grow vegetables to feed us, make natural ingredient creams, lotion and shampoo, cook all meals from scratch and detest E numbers. I live in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand

Posts tagged ‘food colours’

What do they put in our food???

I have become increasingly perturbed by the long lists of (E) numbers and strange named ingredients being put in our food.

I was brought up on a farm in the ’60’s, in the days when we ate fresh food, or those home preserved or frozen. I am now trying to go back to that mind-set and am cooking from scratch. If I do buy something tinned I read the labels thoroughly and as well as being very choosy where a product comes from, I read ingredient list. What does half of it mean? Why do they need to put so many ‘additives’ into our food??

I have already used butter v margarine/spreads in another post, but this time I am talking about Mustard pickles… it’s my bottling season here in NZ.

Having run out of homemade pickles, I have been buying the odd jar of this. I have made two batches of my home made mustard pickles and realised they are the same colour as the purchased jar. Here is a picture comparing the two of them.

Purchased jar of mustard pickles on the left, my home made on the right.

Purchased jar of mustard pickles on the left, my home made on the right.

There is no colour difference at all.

This prompted me to do a comparison of ingredients.

Listed on the brought jar the ingredients are-

water, vegetables (32%) (onions, cauliflower), firming agent (509), acidity regulator (260), preservative (223), gherkins, firming agent (509), acidity regulator (260),  preservative 228))), sugar, thickener (1442), colour (102) spices, garlic powder, salt, acidity regulator (260). Allergen advice, contains: sulphites

You will note that some ingredients are listed twice.

What are all these numbers?

E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union (the “E” prefix stands for “Europe”).

E- numbers is a chemical compound that is added to protect against decay or decomposition to inhibit spoilage. Not all E-numbers are bad for you. However, most E- numbers are prepared/produced synthetically as these are often less expensive than the natural product.

It is extremely wise to avoid eating food with harmful food additives, preservatives. Many of these food additives were once of natural origin and were not harmful.

Classification by numeric range.
1. E100s are generally colours.
2. E200 to E282 are mainly preservatives and acids.
3. E300 to E341 are mainly antioxidants and acid regulators.
4. E400s include emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners, anti-caking agents, release agents and bulking agents.
5. E500-E599 – Mineral salts & Anti-caking agents, some modified
6. E600-E699 – Chemical flavour enhancers
7. E900-E1520 and by name – Miscellaneous all chemical by manufacture.

I have looked up the numbers occurring in the brought Mustard Pickle.

E 102 – Tartrazine. Synthetic dye used as food colourant. Also known as Yellow 5. Derived from petroleum production. Tartrazine appears to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all the azo dyes, particularly among asthmatics and those with an aspirin intolerance. A 1994 study at the University of Melbourne suggested that children previously identified as hyperactive may exhibit an increase in irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbance after ingesting tartrazine

E 223 – Sodium metabisulphite – Derived from coal tar; all sulphur drugs are toxic and restricted in use (in USA, FDA prohibits their use on raw fruits and vegetables), produced by combustion of sulphur or gypsum; known to provoke asthma attacks and difficult to metabolise for those with impaired kidney function, also destroys vitamin B1; typical products are beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, potato products. Commonly used as a sanitization and cleaning agent in home brewing and winemaking to sanitize equipment. It is used as a cleaning agent for potable water reverse osmosis membranes in desalination systems. It is also used to remove chloramine from drinking water after treatment

E228 – Potassium hydrogen sulphite – Same as process and concerns as 223.

E260- Acetic Acid – Main component of vinegar, synthetically produced from wood fibres; used in pickles, chutneys, and sauces

E509 – Calcium chloride – derived from Brine

E1442- Hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate-  made from modified maize and tapioca.

Where is this leading to?

Lets now look at what goes into MY mustard pickle

Fresh vegetables – cauliflower, zucchini, beans, cucumber, onion garlic), salt, malt vinegar*, flour, sugar, mustard powder, mustard seed, turmeric, curry powder.

Malt vinegar, also called Alegar, is made by malting barley, causing the starch in the grain to turn to maltose. Then an ale is brewed from the maltose and allowed to turn into vinegar, which is then aged. It is typically light-brown in color. 

Now go back and look a the list of ingredients in the brought pickle and compare them with mine.

  • Apart from the vinegar the veges are cooked in, my pickle does not need preservatives, added colour or acid regulators and flour is used to thicken it.
  • Given the chance this pickle will last for years. Never does in my house though, it gets eaten to fast.
  • Mine has no colour additives, yet when you compare the two jars above,  mine is exactly the same colour from normal cooking ingredients.

Want the recipe for my Mustard Pickle? Check out this link for my Homemade Mustard Pickle