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E300 - E399 Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 7 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Acidity Acid Regulator Regulators

The E numbers prefixed from 300 to 399 are mostly antioxidants and acidity regulators with the odd few other additives thrown in too. Here we look at what they all are and why they’re included in foods and drinks.


Antioxidants are used in foods in a similar way to preservatives, as they play a key role in extending the shelf life of products and helping improve taste and the look of food. They also help reduce a process known as enzyme browning, which is when fruits and vegetables become discoloured after a while.

Antioxidants can be both manmade/synthetic and natural. An example of a natural antioxidant found on the list below is E300, ascorbic acid, which is in fact vitamin C. Additionally, several tocopherols are listed from E306 to E309, and these are natural ingredients from the vitamin E family.

As far as synthetic antioxidants go, one classic example is the gallates, which occur from E310 to E312. These are a key ingredient in products such as margarine and oil, acting as a preservative to keep products lasting longer.

Acidity Regulators

Additives called acidity regulators are used to help control or change the alkaline or acid levels in foods. It helps products become more palatable to eat and ensures foods stay like that as they are being made (sometimes the stages of processing can otherwise alter foods, if additives such as this aren’t included).

The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that acidity regulators are also listed as being prefixed in the E500 to E599 category. That’s certainly true, but there are also a few acidity regulators lurking within the E300 to E399 category. They’ve mainly been categorised in this way as they also serve other roles too.

Added Extras

Within the E300 to E399 there are a few red herrings too. These are additives that have been classified to lie within this group, but aren’t actually an antioxidant or an acidity regulator. This is because there have been times when it just seemed easier for the classification experts to include them there – where possible the groups stick to their overall categories, but on some occasions, there are added extras included. Where these occur, they are noted on the list below.

It is also worth noting that many additives have numerous roles. There are several antioxidants and acidity regulators that also serve additional purposes.

Complete Reference Guide to Antioxidants and Acidity Regulators

The following list offers a complete reference guide to all the antioxidants and acidity regulators found within the E300 to E399 category. If you’re keen to avoid buying products with these E numbers in, or want to keep track of what additives are in certain products you’ve considering purchasing, then why not print out this list and take it with you when you go shopping.

E300 – L-ascorbic acid

E301 – Sodium L-ascorbate

E302 – Calcium L-ascorbate

E304 – 6-0-palmitoyl-L-ascorbic acid

E306 – Extracts of tocopherols

E307 – Alfa-tocopherol

E308 – Gamma-tocopherol

E309 – Delta-tocopherol

E310 – Propyl gallate

E311 – Octyl gallate

E312 – Dodecyl gallate

E313 – Thiodipropionic acid

E314 – Guaiac gum

E315 – Erythorobic acid

E316 – Sodium erythorbate

E319 – Butylhydroxinon

E320 – Butylated hydroxyanisole

E321 – Butylated hydroxytoluene

E322 – Lecithin – a natural emulsifier

E325 – Sodium lactate

E326 – Potassium lactate

E327 – Calcium lactate

E330 – Citric acid

E331 – Sodium citrates

E332 – Potassium citrates – a buffer and emulsifying salt.

E333 – Mono, di and tri-calcium citrate – a buffer, firming agent, emulsifying salt, sequestrant and flour improver.

E334 – L-(+)-tartaric acid

E335 – Mono / di sodium L-(+)-tartate

E336 – Mono potassium L-(+)-tartate

E337 – Potassium sodium L-(+)-tartate

E338 – Phosphoric acid – a buffer

E339 – Sodium orthophosphates – a buffer

E440 – Potassium orthophosphates – a buffer

E341 – Magnesium orthophosphates – a buffer

E350 – Sodium malate

E351 – Potassium malate

E352 – Calcium malate

E353 – Meta tartaric acid – an emulsifier

E354 – Calcium tartarate

E355 – Adipic acid

E356 – Sodium adipate

E357 – Potassium adipate

E363 – Succinic acid

E365 – Sodium fumarate

E370 – 1,4, Heptonolactone

E375 – Nicotonic acid – a colour protector

E380 – Tri-ammonium citrate

E385 – Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate – a sequestrant

E386 – Disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate (EDTA) – a stabiliser

E387 – Oxysterarin – a stabiliser

E388 – Thiodipropionic acid

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