If you’re following a halal diet for religious reasons then it’s important to know which E numbers aren’t suitable to be consumed. Here we explore which numbers you should be avoiding.
The term halal is an Arabic word that means permissible and refers to food that is permissible to eat according to Islamic laws. As a result of these laws, foods such as pork, or any product containing ingredients sourced from pork, such as gelatine, are unable to be consumed by Muslims. The situation can be a bit tricky when it comes to E numbers, as in order to be sure that they are halal, you need to know the full origins of the additive.
The origins can sometimes vary. For example, in the case of antioxidants such as E306 (tocopherol), it is halal if the tocopherol comes from plant fat. However, it’s not halal if the tocopherol is obtained from pork fat. Some of the other E numbers that can be variable include:
E470 to E483 – these emulsifiers can be halal, unless they are obtained from pork or non-halal meat sources.
E542 – edible bone phosphate. This isn’t halal if it comes from pork or non-halal sources.
E422 – glycerol or glycerine. This can be halal, unless it is obtained from pork or non-halal meat sources.
In the case of E numbers that could be derived from animal or plant sources, the best way to be sure of where they come from is to either look at the packaging or contact the manufacturer. If the packaging says, “suitable for vegetarians,” the chances are that the ingredients are from plant sources. But if you want to double-check, then phone or write to the manufacturer and ask for clarification. It’s also worth noting that some mosques and Muslim organisations maintain lists of non-halal E numbers, so ask if anything is available in your area.
Halal Unsuitable E Numbers
E120 – cochineal
E140 – chlorophyll
E141 – copper phaeophytins
E252 – potassium nitrate
E422 – glycerol/glycerine
E430 – polyoxyethelene (8) stearate
E431 - polyoxyethelene (40) stearate
E433 – polysorbate 80
E470 – sodium salts
E471 – glyceryl monosterate
E472a – acetic esters of fatty acids
E472b - lactic esters of fatty acids
E472c - citric esters of fatty acids
E472d - tartaric esters of fatty acids
E472e - acetyltartaric esters of fatty acids
E473 – sucrose esters
E474 – sucroglycerides
E475 - polyglycerol esters of fatty acids
E476 - polyglycerol polyricinoleate
E477 - propylene glycol esters
E478 - lactylated glycerol esters
E491 - sorbitan monostearate
E492 - sorbitan Tristearate
E494 - sorbitan mono-oleate
E542 - edible bone phosphate
E570 – stearic acid
E572 – magnesium stearate
E631 – sodium 5 inosinate
E635 – sodium 5 ribonucleotide
E904 - shellac
It’s important to note that ingredients of products do change, so a processed food that you have been unable to eat in the past may become suitable for a halal diet at a later stage if the offending E number is removed or replaced. Likewise, things can change in the other direction, with manufacturers adding different E numbers to favourite foods so they suddenly become unsuitable for your dietary requirements. So keep up-to-date up studying food labels and consulting with other Muslims, so you can be sure what you’re eating is permissible at all times.
It's great for all mankind...
ABDUL - 24-Oct-20 @ 5:31 AM
You're absolutely right and quite a keen eye to catch it
I did check it on Google and the first two E numbers n chemicals mentioned are acquired from plant sources
FY - 28-May-20 @ 3:51 PM
Thank you for giving us useful information.
MOIDULISLAM - 15-Jan-19 @ 10:39 PM
Thanks for informative article. In my opinion E numbers and other such tricky nomenclature are used in food and such other products to at best confuse and at worst to misguide the consumers. I fail to understand why the labeling can not be done in straightforward way listing the ingredients which common public can understand. Like for product derived from fat, print plant fat or animal fat from which animal. This will put to rest unnecessary arguments and controversies.
HN - 12-Jan-19 @ 4:43 PM
Thanku for giving me use full imformation
Shani - 6-Jan-19 @ 3:12 PM
Is emulsifier (442,476) halal???
Plz let me know.....
Wajeeha - 4-Jan-19 @ 7:48 AM
Lays ,diary milk ,kolson salenty are all made from pig's fat . It is a request for Muslim that these things are Haram to us . Our religion is most important to us . Please avoid all these things
Salu - 12-Dec-18 @ 4:01 AM
Thank you so much for these valuable informations. But how to do identify those E- type containing in the food? Many packages doesn't mentioned sources from which prepared!
Mu'ZTalk - 10-Dec-18 @ 4:29 AM
You've listed E140 Chlorophyll as unsuitable for the halal diet but that comes from plants, doesn't it?
Chlorophyll is what makes plants green so essentially it's just green food colouring
that comes from plants? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Miss - 8-Dec-18 @ 11:51 AM
I am Seventh-day Adventist Christian who also, for religious reasons, do not consume any pork containing foods. Would you recommend I followed the same as above?
Ace - 22-Jul-18 @ 7:47 PM
Every muslim should stick to Islamic rules in order to safeguard his/her eemaan. Therefore one should eat only what is halal and refrain himself / herself from forbidden food items like pork or pig fat.
Sag-e-Kichhauchha - 2-Feb-18 @ 6:24 PM
Thanks for the information! I really appreciate it!
Abdul Ahad - 15-May-16 @ 6:33 PM
HOW DOYU SAY INCECT COCHINELLE IS HALA SHAME ON YOU.DO YOU LIKE INSCT OR INSECT BLOOD. WHO SAID IS HALAL.IF INSECT IS HALAL PORK TO HALAL.WHAT KIND MUSLIM EAT OR SACK INSECT BLOOD ANY KIND