10 top food additive no nos

When America sneezes Britain catches a cold and when stats show America spends 90% of its household food budget on processed – don’t say you haven’t been… Gesundheit… too late!

In sourcing ocean fresh* food, here’s a list of the top ten food additives we avoid and, by way of caution, these additives often give consumers more than a yanky cold.

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame (E951) is found in foods labeled ‘diet’ or ‘sugar free’ and is believed to be carcinogenic, accounting for more reports of adverse health reactions than all other foods and food additives combined.

Aspartame is not your friend it is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s, alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures.

Aspartame is found in: diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jelly, desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breathmints, puddings, ice cream, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener and, being found in almost all processed foods, has become the number one source of calories in America.

HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage.

HFCS is found in: most processed foods, breads, sweets, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, tinned vegetables, cereals

3. Monosodium Glutamate

MSG (MSG / E621) is an amino acid used as a flavour enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods.

MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which over excites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG effects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the ‘I’m full’ function which explains the effects of weight gain.

MSG is found in: Chinese food (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome ) many snacks, chips, biscuits, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners, lunch meats

4. Trans Fat

Trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that can be consumed.

Found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation.

Studies show trans fat increases LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (‘good’) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2%.

Trans fat is found in: margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods

5. Common Food Dyes

Studies show artificial colorings, found in fizzy drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colorings to cancer. Watch out for the following:

Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)

–Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage
–Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods

Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)

–Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out. Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission
–Found in: fruit cocktail, glacé cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

–Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.
–Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!

6. Sodium Sulfite (E221)

Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people are sensitive to sulfites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.

Sodium Sulfite is found in: Wine, beer and dried fruit

7. Sodium Nitrate / Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, colouring and flavouring and is highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system.

It forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds entering the bloodstream that wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular.

Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA tried to ban this additive in the 1970’s but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical happens to turn meats bright red. It’s actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant.

Sodium nitrate  is found in: hotdogs, salami, bacon, ham, sandwich meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat

8. BHA and BHT (E320)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives keeping foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

BHA and BHT are found in: Crisps, chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, vegetable oils, shortening, sweets, jelly

9. Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

Sulfur additives are toxic. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.

Sulfur dioxide is found in: beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.

10. Potassium Bromate

An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

Octane sources ocean fresh* foods so these additives are as unnecessary as they are academic. Octane operates from an off–grid island with no cars — it is as free of chemicals as it is from traffic wardens.


Octane offers gastro wilderness expeditions – employing Octane’s Eight* methods of sourcing wild food for the pot, we eat the world’s best food, ocean fresh**

*Octane’s Eight is our philosophy – we believe our travelling guests, being closest to the world’s wildest fresh foods, might quite like to eat the world’s wildest fresh foods. 1) We line fish, 2) we lobster pot, 3) we spear fish, 4) we sea forage, 5) we land forage, 6) we deer stalk, 7) we seed the sea, 8) we seed the land

**Ocean fresh – the term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day

See OCEAN FRESH in practice – with the post ‘Drive-by calamari’ – ocean fresh calamari caught, cooked and served in under an hour

Ode to E numbers

Worried whether the lobsters we catch are red enough, the hand dived wild scallops shiny enough or whether our hickory cured ocean fresh fish tastes smokey enough, we stay abreast of chemical options with which to improve upon nature.

Afterall, when a lobster ain’t quite like the catalogue, surely it can always be pimped with additives — retail’s Photoshop equivalent.

Keep calm

Here follows a list of E numbers in ode to their contribution to world cuisine as made available to consumers by our discerning supermarkets who, having come to the realisation natural food is so passé, enable us to keep calm and carry on consuming.

Although keeping calm whilst consuming attention deficit disorder inducing E133 Brilliant Blue can be a rather twitchy challenge but that’s probably for another post.

Carry on

The purpose of the list is simply to reassure — where nature fails there is a supermarket solution. Albeit wonderfully chemical.

Artificial colours — a rainbow of carcinogenic colour

E100 Curcumin
E101 (i) Riboflavin (ii) Riboflavin-5′-phosphate
E102 Tartrazine
E104 Quinoline yellow
E110 Sunset Yellow FCF; Orange Yellow S
E120 Cochineal; Carminic acid; Carmines
E122 Azorubine; Carmoisine
E123 Amaranth
E124 Ponceau 4R; Cochineal Red A
E127 Erythrosine
E128 Red 2G
E129 Allura Red AC
E131 Patent Blue V
E132 lndigotine; Indigo Carmine
E133 Brilliant Blue FCF
E140 Chlorophylls and chlorophyllins
E141 Copper complexes of chlorophyll and chlorophyllins
E142 Green S
E150a Plain caramel
E150b Caustic sulphite caramel
E150c Ammonia caramel
E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel
E151 Brilliant Black BN; Black PN
E153 Vegetable carbon
E154 Brown FK
E155 Brown HT
E160a Carotenes
E160b Annatto; Bixin; Norbixin
E160c Paprika extract; Capsanthian; Capsorubin
E160d Lycopene
E160e Beta-apo-8′-carotenal (C30)
E160f Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8′-carotenoic acid (C30)
E161a Flavoxanthin
E161b Lutein
E161c Cryptoaxanthin
E161d Rubixanthin
E161e Violaxanthin
E161f Rhodoxanthin
E161g Canthaxanthin
E162 Beetroot Red; Betanin
E163 Anthocyanins
E170 Calcium carbonate
E171 Titanium dioxide
E172 Iron oxides and hydroxides
E173 Aluminium
E174 Silver
E175 Gold
E180 Litholrubine BK
E181 Tannic acid, Tannins

Artificial preservatives — food for eternity

E200 Sorbic acid
E202 Potassium sorbate
E203 Calcium sorbate
E210 Benzoic acid
E211 Sodium benzoate
E212 Potassium benzoate
E213 Calcium benzoate
E214 Ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E215 Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E216 Propyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E217 Sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E218 Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E219 Sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E220 Sulphur dioxide
E221 Sodium sulphite
E222 Sodium hydrogen sulphite
E223 Sodium metabisuiphite
E224 Potassium metabisulphite
E225 Potassium sulphite
E226 Calcium sulphite
E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite
E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite
E230 Biphenyl; diphenyl
E231 Orthophenyl phenol
E232 Sodium orthophenyl phenol
E233 Thiabendazole,2-(Thiazol-4-yl) benzimidazole
E234 Nisin
E235 Natamycin
E236 Formic acid
E237 Sodium formate
E238 Calcium formate
E239 Hexamethylene tetramine
E242 Dimethyl dicarbonate
E249 Potassium nitrite
E250 Sodium nitrite
E251 Sodium nitrate
E252 Potassium nitrate
E260 Acetic acid
E261 Potassium acetate
E262 Sodium acetate
E263 Calcium acetate
E264 Ammonium acetate
E270 Lactic acid
E280 Propionic acid
E281 Sodium propionate
E282 Calcium propionate
E283 Potassium propionate
E284 Boric acid
E285 Sodium tetraborate; borax
E290 Carbon dioxide
E296 Malic acid
E297 Fumaric acid
E1105 Lysozyme

Antioxidants — life’s better without air

E300 Ascorbic acid
E301 Sodium ascorbate
E302 Calcium ascorbate
E303 Potassium ascorbate
E304 Fatty acid esters of ascorbic acid
E306 Tocopherols
E307 Alpha-tocopherol
E308 Gamma-tocopherol
E309 Delta-tocopherol
E310 Propyl gallate
E311 Octyl gallate
E312 Dodecyl gallate
E315 Erythorbic acid
E316 Sodium erythorbate
E319 Tert-ButylHydroQuinone
E320 Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
E321 Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

Artificial sweeteners — side effects without bitterness

E420 (i) Sorbitol (ii) Sorbitol syrup
E421 Mannitol
E950 Acesulfame K
E951 Aspartame 
E952 Cyclamic acid and its Na and Ca salts
E953 lsomalt
E954 Saccharin and its Na, K and Ca salts
E957 Thaumatin
E959 Neohesperidine DC
E965 (i) Maltitol (ii) Maltitol syrup
E966 Lactitol
E967 Xylitol

Emulsifiers, stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents — a potpourri of improvement

E322 Lecithins
E400 Alginic acid
E401 Sodium alginate
E402 Potassium alginate
E403 Ammonium alginate
E404 Calcium alginate
E405 Propane-1,2-diol alginate
E406 Agar
E407 Carrageenan
E407a Processed eucheuma seaweed
E410 Locust bean gum; carob gum
E412 Guar gum
E413 Tragacanth
E414 Acacia gum; gum arabic
E415 Xanthan gum
E416 Karaya gum
E417 Tara gum
E418 Gellan gum
E425 Konjac
E432 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate; Polysorbate 20
E433 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-oleate; Polysorbate 80
E434 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monopalmitate; Polysorbate 40 
E435 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate; Polysorbate 60
E436 Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate; Polysorbate 65
E440 Pectins
E442 Ammonium phosphatides
E444 Sucrose acetate isobutyrate
E445 Glycerol esters of wood rosins
E460 Cellulose
E461 Methyl cellulose

E463 Hydroxypropyl cellulose
E464 Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose
E465 Ethyl methyl cellulose
E466 Carboxy methyl cellulose
E467 Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose
E468 Crosslinked sodium carboxy methyl cellulose
E469 Enzymatically hydrolysed carboxy methyl cellulose
E470a Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty Acids
E470b Magnesium salts of fatty acids
E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472a Acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472b Lactic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472c Citric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472d Tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids

E472e Mono- and diacetyltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids
E474 Sucroglycerides
E475 Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids

E476 Polyglycerol polyricinoleate
E477 Propylene glycol esters of fatty acids
E479b Thermal oxidised soya bean oil interacted with mono & diglycerides of fatty acids
E481 Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E482 Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate
E483 Stearyl tartrate
E491 Sorbitan monostearate
E492 Sorbitan tristearate
E493 Sorbitan monolaurate
E494 Sorbitan monooleate
E495 Sorbitan monopalmitate
E1103 Invertase

Acidity regulators, anti-caking agents, anti-foaming agents, bulking agents, carrier solvents, emulsifiers, firming agents, flavour enhancers,  foaming agents, glazing agents, humectants, packaging gases, propellants and sequestrants — because you’re worth it

E170 Calcium carbonates
E260 Acetic acid
E261 Potassium acetate
E262 Sodium acetate
E263 Calcium acetate
E270 Lactic acid
E290 Carbon dioxideE296 Malic acid
E297 Fumaric acid
E325 Sodium lactate
E326 Potassium lactate
E327 Calcium lactate
E330 Citric acid
E331 Sodium citrates
E332 Potassium citrates
E333 Calcium citrates
E334 Tartaric acid (L-(+))
E335 Sodium tartrates
E336 Potassium tartrates
E337 Sodium potassium tartrate
E338 Phosphoric acid
E339 Sodium phosphates
E340 Potassium phosphates
E341 Calcium phosphates
E343 Magnesium phosphates
E350 Sodium malates

E351 Potassium malate
E352 Calcium malates
E353 Metatartaric acid
E354 Calcium tartrate
E355 Adipic acid
E356 Sodium adipate
E357 Potassium adipate
E363 Succinic acid
E380 Triammonium citrate
E385 Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate; calcium disodium EDTA
E422 Glycerol
E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate
E450 Diphosphates
E451 Triphosphates
E452 Polyphosphates
E459 Beta-cyclodextrin
E500 Sodium carbonates
E501 Potassium carbonates
E503 Ammonium carbonates
E504 Magnesium carbonates
E507 Hydrochloric acid
E508 Potassium chloride
E509 Calcium chloride
E511 Magnesium chloride
E512 Stannous chloride
E513 Sulphuric acid
E514 Sodium sulphates
E515 Potassium sulphates
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
E 552 Calcium silicate
E553a (i) Magnesium silicate 
(ii) Magnesium trisilicate
E553b Talc
E554 Sodium aluminium silicate
E555 Potassium aluminium silicate
E556 Aluminium calcium silicate
E558 Bentonite
E559 Aluminium silicate; 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 lactate
E620 Glutamic acid
E621 Monosodium glutamate
E622 Monopotassium glutamate
E623 Calcium diglutamate 
E624 Monoammonium glutamate
E625 Magnesium diglutamate
E626 Guanylic acid
E627 Disodium guanylate
E628 Dipotassium guanylate
E629 Calcium guanylate
E630 lnosinic acid
E631 Disodium inosinate
E632 Dipotassium inosinate
E633 Calcium inosinate
E634 Calcium 5′-ribonucleotides
E635 Disodium 5′-ribonucieotides
E640 Glycine and its sodium salt
E650 Zinc acetate
E900 Dimethylpolysiloxane
E901 Beeswax, white and yellow
E902 Candelilla wax
E903 Carnauba wax
E904 Shellac
E905 Microcrystalline wax
E912 Montan acid esters
E914 Oxidised Polyethylene wax
E920 L-Cysteine
E927b Carbamide
E938 Argon
E939 Helium
E941 Nitrogen
E942 Nitrous oxide
E943a Butane
E943b Iso-butane
E944 Propane
E948 Oxygen
E949 Hydrogen
E999 Quillaia extract
E1200 Polydextrose
E1201 Polyvinylpyrrolidone
E1202 Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone
E1404 Oxidised starch
E1410 Monostarch phosphate
E1412 Distarch phosphate
E1413 Phosphated distarch phosphate
E1414 Acetylated starch
E1420 Acetylated Starch
E1422 Acetylated distarch adipate
E1440 Hydroxyl propyl starch
E1442 Hydroxy propyl distarch phosphate
E1450 Starch sodium octenyl succinate
E1451 Acetylated oxidised starch 
Polyethylene glycol 6000
E1505 Triethyl citrate
E1518 Glyceryl triacetate; triacetin
E1520 Propan-1,2-diol; propylene glycol

Alternatively, if one is happy with eating food not designed to stay fresh some time into the next century, one can catch for the pot ocean fresh*


Octane offers gastro wilderness expeditions and, employing Octane’s Eight methods of sourcing wild food for the pot, we eat the world’s best food, ocean fresh.

Octane’s Eight is our philosophy. We believe our travelling guests, being closest to the world’s wildest fresh foods, might quite like to eat the world’s wildest fresh foods. 1) We line fish, 2) we lobster pot, 3) we spear fish, 4) we sea forage, 5) we land forage, 6) we deer stalk, 7) we seed the sea, 8) we seed the land.

Ocean fresh is our quality standard and the term fresh is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

Lemon chicken pesticide wrapped in smokey steroid bacon back served on a bed of freshly bleach-washed loose-leaved lambs lettuce

It may sound like a gastro horror show but this is factually the food sold in our less than super markets and served daily in the most celebrity of chefs’ zeitgeist brasseries.

However, if the specials menu hasn’t yet put you off yet, here’s the recipe again, with the unabridged waiter’s drum–roll flounce:

Waiter’s special

Locally sourced lemon chicken pesticide wrapped in smoked steroid bacon back and processed white rice served on a bed of freshly bleach-washed loose-leaved lambs lettuce with E coli

And here are the facts: 46% of British chicken contains pesticide residue*, 29% of British bacon contains pesticide residue*, 100% of lemons imported to Britain contain multiple pesticide residue**, 13% of pre-washed loose-leaved salad contains E coli***

Ocean fresh

Catching ocean fresh**** food for the pot is a peculiar carry-on for some.

However, I might suggest meat contained in a plastic tray, cellophane wrapped, bar-coded, best-befored, de-boned, de-skinned, de-fatted and cut to manageable nuggets is pretty peculiar.

Especially so when much of the above wrapping carry on is packaging a horse disguised as a sausage which is to disguise its an animal.

Not to mention the modern fetish of farmers to use growth steroids, growth hormones and antibiotics.

When standing in the supermarket isle, piously scanning ingredients lists, don’t forget it’s not a list of ingredients – that would be just too simple. It is more of a top-line only guide and sales brochure — all detail is subject to change and only some items ever makes the ingredients list.

Less than super

Supermarkets are legally obligated to list and declare items added to a food product but not a list of items within.

Blind eye

When selling porridge oats for example it sounds more wholesome to say oats rather than oats and pesticide — technically the retailer did not add the pesticide of course, the farmer did.

A bit like, when selling a car, keeping quiet about a chassis bending crash it was involved in because you weren’t at the wheel at the time.


Pesticide Action Network UK
** Government Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food
*** Felicity Lawrence, The Guardian. 2008. “I pointed out that between 1992 and 2000, the period during which the new phenomenon of bagged salads took off, nearly 6% of food-poisoning outbreaks were associated with prepared vegetables and salads. A study in 1996 of retail samples of bagged salad found 13% contained E coli.”


****The term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have therefore made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

See ocean fresh in practice with the post ‘Drive through calimari’ – ocean fresh calimari caught, cooked and served in under an hour