Emulsifiers approved for use in food by the European Commission

Food additives permitted in the EU: emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents

Below is a review of some of emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents, such as lecithins, alginates or plant gums, present in the list of food additives approved in the European Community on the basis of the European Commission regulation No 1129/2011 published on 11 November 2011. Such list is an amendment of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament, that was then modified in 2013. The list in its entirety is available, in HTML or PDF format and in the different European languages, by following the link in the References.

E322 Lecithins
E400 Alginic acid
E401 Sodium alginate
E402 Potassium alginate
E403 Ammonium alginate
E404 Calcium alginate
E405 Propane-1,2-diol alginate
Plant gums (soluble fibre)
E406 Agar
E407 Carrageenan
E407a Processed eucheuma seaweed
E410 Locust bean gum
E412 Guar gum
E413 Tragacanth
E414 Gum arabic or acacia gum
E415 Xanthan gum
E416 Karaya gum
E417 Tara gum
E418 Gellan gum
E425 Konjac
E432 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate: Polysorbate 20
E433 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-oleate: Polysorbate 80
E434 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monopalmitate: Polysorbate 40
E435 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate: Polysorbate 60
E436 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate: Polysorbate 65
Cellulose derivatives
E460 Cellulose
E461 Methyl cellulose
E463 Hydroxypropyl cellulose
E464 Hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose
E465 Ethyl methyl cellulose
E466 Carboxy methyl cellulose, sodium carboxy methyl cellulose, cellulose gum
E468 Cross-linked sodium carboxy methyl cellulose, cross linked cellulose gum
E469 Enzymatically hydrolysed carboxy methyl cellulose, enzymatically hydrolysed cellulose gum
Fatty acid derivatives and modified fats
E470a Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty acids
E470b Magnesium salts of fatty acids
E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472a Acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472b Lactic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472c Citric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472d Tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472e Mono- and diacetyltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids
E474 Sucroglycerides
E475 Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids
E476 Polyglycerol polyricinoleate
E477 Propane-1,2-diol esters of fatty acids
E479b Thermally oxidised soya bean oil interacted with mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
E481 Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E482 Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E483 Stearyl tartrate
E491 Sorbitan monostearate
E492 Sorbitan tristearate
E493 Sorbitan monolaurate
E494 Sorbitan monooleate
E495 Sorbitan monopalmitate
Other compounds
E440 Pectins
E442 Ammonium phosphatides
E444 Sucrose acetate isobutyrate
E445 Glycerol esters of wood rosins
E1103 Invertase


  1. Bender D.A. “Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology” 8th ed. Woodhead Publishing. Oxford, 2006
  2. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1129/2011 of 11 November 2011 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing a Union list of food additives. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2011/1129/2013-11-21

Biochemistry, metabolism, and nutrition