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E100 - E199 Colours

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 9 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
E Number Numbers Colour Colours

There are a wide range of colours used in products today making them look more appealing and tempting to consumers. Here we take a look at all the colours that make up the E number colour category.

The colours used in foods and drinks make up the E numbers from 100 to 199. This makes it a bit easier for you, as a consumer, to identify when an E number is a colour or not, as it will always be from E100-199. If it doesn’t begin with a 1, then it’s not a colour.

As more colours are added, you’ll find that some numbers have extra a, b, c, d, e or f prefixes to accommodate the new item. For example, E150 has extra options for E150a, E150b, E150c and E150d. Where these are added, they are usually colours from the same family as the original E number prefix and are related in form and use.

Colours can either come from natural sources, such as E100, which comes from turmeric, or E162, which comes from beetroot, or they can be artificial and manmade. Food colouring are used in a wide range of products – some of which may surprise you. Look out for them mentioned on the labels of products such as fizzy drinks, fruit squash, sweets, desserts, scotch eggs, haddock, jelly, jam, cakes, biscuits and packet soups.

Colours are one of the more controversial E number categories, as there has been some research suggesting some of the artificial colours are responsible for causing hyperactivity in children. Manufacturers have begun to make attempts to reduce their use of certain suspect colourings. However, it currently seems unlikely that the use of any food colourings at all will be eradicated completely.

Complete Reference Guide to Colours

The following offers a complete reference guide to all the colours commonly used in foods and drinks. If you’re keen to avoid buying products with E number colours in them, why not print out this list and take it shopping with you?
  • E100 Curcumin, turmeric
  • E101 Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • E101a Riboflavin-5'-Phosphate
  • E102 Tartrazine
  • E103 Chrysoine resorcinol
  • E104 Quinoline yellow
  • E105 Fast Yellow AB
  • E106 Riboflavin-5-Sodium Phosphate
  • E107 Yellow 2G
  • E110 Sunset Yellow FCF
  • E111 Orange GGN
  • E120 Cochineal
  • E121 Orcein, Orchil
  • E122 Carmoisine
  • E123 Amaranth
  • E124 Ponceau 4R
  • E125 Ponceau SX, Scarlet GN
  • E126 Ponceau 6R
  • E127 Erythrosine
  • E128 Red 2G
  • E129 Allura Red AC
  • E130 Indanthrene blue RS
  • E131 Patent Blue V
  • E132 Indigo carmine
  • E133 Brilliant Blue FCF
  • E140 Chlorophylls
  • E141 Copper complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllins
  • E142 Greens S
  • E143 Fast Green FCF
  • E150a Plain Caramel
  • E150b Caustic sulfite caramel
  • E150c Ammonia caramel
  • E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel
  • E151 Black PN
  • E152 Black 7984
  • E153 Carbon black
  • E154 Brown FK
  • E155 Brown HT
  • E160a Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene and carotene
  • E160b Annatto
  • E160c Paprika extract, Capsanthin
  • E160d Lycopene
  • E160e Beta-apo-8'-carotenal
  • E160f Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8'- carotenic acid
  • E161 Xanthophylls
  • E161a Flavoxanthin
  • E161b Lutein
  • E161c Cryptoxanthin
  • E161d Rubixanthin
  • E161e Violaxanthin
  • E161f Rhodoxanthin
  • E161g Canthaxanthin
  • E161h Zeaxanthin
  • E161i Citranaxanthin
  • E161j Astaxanthin
  • E162 Beetroot Red
  • E163 Anthocyanins
  • E163a Cyanadin
  • E163b Delphinidin
  • E170 Calcium carbonate
  • E171 Titanium dioxide
  • E172 Iron oxides and hydroxides
  • E173 Aluminium
  • E174 Silver
  • E175 Gold
  • E180 Pigment Rubine
  • E181 Tannin

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