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E-numbers are not Evil-numbers

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The E-numbers system is a European system to abbreviate various substances included in food products, and appears on the packaging. It seems like people are naturally suspicious of these codes, probably because they appear to indicate something very artificial and we would rather trust something that's more natural. For some, it's more than just a suspicion, which offers an opportunity to market products as being 'Free from E-numbers'.
I suppose the original purpose of E-numbers was to actually allow product manufacturers to use less printing space on their packaging to list the ingredients, and to eliminate ambiguity. This is particularly useful when printing information on small or multi-lingual packaging. Unfortunately it seems like this effort to help the consumer be more informed has backfired.
E-numbers are intended to be used to list any ingredient that has an E-number, but commonly used to list additives with long chemical names. Some of these can indeed …