Personal Health

Food additives: E-numbers are not vegetarian or vegan?

Shopping for vegetarians and Vegans is easier nowadays than a few years ago, because now many vegetarian and vegan foods are labeled as products. However, products without such labelling can be vegan. Just how do you recognize the doubt?

Not every ingredient of animal origin is Readily apparent

Because food, not explicitly as vegetarian or vegan are marked, can be equally well – hidden animal ingredients included. Thus, such additives may be in foods of animal origin, without the consumer knows only a little of it.

The list of ingredients does not always clear: for the Otto normal consumer is the information is by no means obvious whether a food ingredients containing animal-sourced. Or, you can tell right off the bat, what’s behind all the E-numbers? And who knows, an additive names can be long, not sure if this is vegetarian or vegan or not. Two Examples:

  • The E-number E322 is Lecithin, a fat-like substance found in many foods can put. Lecithin is most often extracted from soy beans, but sometimes also from other raw materials – for example from egg yolk.
  • Behind E904 is shellac, for example, as a coating agent for fruits and sweets is used. Is extracted shellac from the excrement of the female Polish scale.

The use of E numbers understand: Without a list it is not

Who as vegetarians and Vegans, not to processed foods want to miss out, the remains, currently, hardly anything else left, as thoroughly to inform – for example, in the case of the consumer. According to their research, the following additives of animal origin to be (the list is not complete):

To clear up any doubt … but how?

If you want to go, a E number in the ingredients list of packaged food is truly vegan or vegetarian, please ask in case of doubt, directly from the food manufacturer.

However, the first solution consists of food additives completely to avoid: you simply Buy only fresh, unprocessed and untreated foods – then you need to all the E-numbers in food, there are no thoughts to make.


Online information of the German Federal Association of consumer centres and consumer organisations – verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e. V. (vzbv): (retrieval date: 17.12.2019)

Online information of the consumer Initiative e. V. (Federal Association): (retrieval date: 17.12.2019)

Labelling of vegan and vegetarian food. Online information of the German Federal Ministry for food and agriculture (BMEL): (status: 3.7.2019)

For More Information

Onmeda-Reading Tips:

  • 13 particularly iron-containing foods for vegetarians
  • Can you trust calorie information on foods?
  • Season calendar: What local fruits and vegetables when freshly harvested in the trade?

Link tips:

  • www.zusatzstoffe-online.deIn this database of the consumer Initiative e. V., you can find the most important information to the currently authorised in the European Union food additives.


*The contribution of “food additives: E-numbers are not vegetarian or vegan?” is published by Onmeda. Contact with the executives here.