On the back of food packaging, there are some numbers starting with ‘E’ under the ingredient list. So, what are they and why they been used in food. Do they have any implications for our health?
Junaid BukhariLevel 1
What are emulsifiers and what they used for?
Emulsifiers are used to make emulsions. In other words, emulsifiers help blend water and oil in food to give consistency to foodstuffs. Without, emulsifiers, oil and water would not mix.
An emulsifier is a molecule, in which one end tends to set in oil while want to link with water.
Emulsifiers also reduce stickiness, help in controlling crystallisation and prevent separation.
Emulsifiers can be made from plants, animals as well as produced synthetically/artificially.
Some recent studies show that some emulsifiers which are used in a variety of processed foods can damage the intestinal barrier, which causes inflammation and increase risks of chronic diseases.
By law, emulsifiers must always be declared on the product labels. They can be labelled either by their name or their corresponding E-number.
The following is a list of Emulsifiers.