Home > E Numbers Revealed > E500 - E599 Acidity Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents

E500 - E599 Acidity Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 19 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Anti-caking Anti Cake Caking Acid

E numbers labelled from E500 to E599 form a category called acidity regulators and anti-caking agents. Here we look at exactly what their role in products is and what all the numbers are.

Acidity Regulators

As the name aptly suggests, acidity regulators are used in processed foods to change or control the acidity or alkalinity of products. It helps make them more palatable for the consumer, but also helps the food in its desired state when it is being made. Sometimes acidity regulators are referred to as pH control agents too.

Although most acidity regulators fall into the E500 to E599 category of E numbers, there are others that are dotted around within other categories. These are all ingredients that serve more than one purpose and have been categorised according to their primary use. Examples of this include:

  • E260 – Aceetic acid (this is also a buffer, preservative, flavouring and diluent).
  • E261 – Potassium acetate (this is also a colour preserver and buffer).
  • E262 – Sodium hydrogen diacetate (this is also a preservative buffer and sequestrant).

Anti-Caking Agents

When processed foods are being made, the ingredients are frequently mixed together in powdered form. Anti-caking agents are used to help with this process, ensuring that all the powders mix together properly during production, which helps reduce the risk of ingredients clumping or sticking together in lumps.

If anti-caking agents aren’t included, some foods and drinks we take for granted wouldn’t be as easy to consume as usual. For example, hot chocolate that comes in powdered form in packets or tubs wouldn’t mix up so easily to form a gorgeous drink. Where the powders are used in vending machines, they’d become lumpy, block the small tubes in the machines and the drink wouldn’t taste right.

There are at least 99 different types of anti-caking agents used in foods and drinks today, ranging from some that come from natural sources to others that are manmade specifically. Some of the natural anti-caking agents include kaolin (E559) and talc (E553b). Manufactured anti-caking ingredients include calcium silicate (E552), magnesium carbonate (E504) and sodium aluminosilicate (E554).

The majority of anti-caking agents can be found with E numbers from 500 to 599, but there are one or two that fall into other categories. Like the acidity regulators, this is due to the ingredient having dual purposes. Examples include:

  • E421 – Mannitol (which is also a texturising agent, a sweetening agent, and anti-sticking agent and a humectant).
  • E460a – Microcrystalline cellulose (which is also a bulking agent, binder and stabiliser).
  • E460b – Alpha cellulose (which is also a bulking agent, binder and stabiliser).

Complete Reference Guide to Acidity Regulators and Anti-Caking Agents

The following list offers a complete reference guide to all the acidity regulators and anti-caking agents commonly used in foods and drinks. If you’re keen to avoid buying products with these E number in, why not print this list out and take it shopping with you.

E500 - Sodium carbonate

E501 – Potassium carbonate

E503 – Ammonium carbonate

E504 – Magnesium carbonate

E507 – Hydrochloric acid

E508 – Potassium chloride

E509 – Calcium chloride

E511 – Magnesium chloride

E512 – Stannous chloride

E513 – Sulphuric acid

E514 – Sodium sulphates

E515 – Potassium sulphate

E516 – Calcium sulphate

E517 – Ammonium sulphate

E520 – Aluminium sulphate

E521 – Aluminium sodium sulphate

E522 – Aluminium potassium sulphate

E523 – Aluminium ammonium sulphate

E524 – Sodium hydroxide

E525 – Potassium hydroxide

E526 – Calcium hydroxide

E527 – Ammonium hydroxide

E528 – Magnesium hydroxide

E529 – Calcium oxide

E530 – Magnesium oxide

E535 – Sodium ferrocyanide

E536 – Potassium ferrocyanide

E538 – Calcium ferrocyanide

E541 – Sodium aluminium phosphate

E551 – Silicon dioxide

E552 – Calcium silicate

E553a – (i) Magnesium silicate and (ii) magnesium trisilicate

E553b – Talc

E554 – Sodium aluminium silicate

E555 – Potassium aluminium silicate

E556 – Aluminium calcium silicate

E558 – Bentonite

E559 – Kaolin

E570 – Fatty acids

E574 – Gluconic acid

E575 – Glucono delta-lactone

E576 – Sodium gluconate

E577 – Potassium gluconate

E578 – Calcium gluconate

E579 – Ferrous gluconate

E585 – Ferrous gluconate

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