One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A code number preceded by the letter E, denoting food additives numbered in accordance with EU directives.
- ‘Once an additive has been approved as safe across the European Union, it is assigned an E-number.’
- ‘Food campaigners have accused companies of deliberately misleading consumers, many of whom need to check labels for health reasons, by listing a mixture of additive names and E-numbers.’
- ‘The magazine concludes that additives are essential to provide safe, convenient food all year round but questions the need for E-number ingredients to make food more colourful.’
- 1.1informal A food additive.
added ingredient, addition, extra, add-on, supplement, accompanimentView synonyms
- ‘I don't know what ingredients they put in those suspiciously yellow, polystyrene-like slithers of E-numbers (well, there's certainly no potato in them, I'll bet), but they make tube travel almost unbearable.’
- ‘The E-numbers just temporarily addled my brain..’
- ‘The crisps are hand-fried using the finest flavourings - we don't use E-numbers or artificial flavourings.’
- ‘There is nothing the six-year-old likes more now than to strut around the living room, cranked up on E-numbers after eating too many bags.’
- ‘Today I have eaten at least a pound of pure E-numbers.’
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