There’s a common misconception that all E numbers are bad. How many times have you heard ‘full of E numbers’ used as a negative phrase? But take a closer look at these ‘food additives’ and the picture becomes quite different. It’s right to practice caution, of course, but it’s also important to understand what E numbers are, and how they’re used – because there are many hundreds of them, lots of which are found in natural ingredients.
What are E numbers?
An E number is simply a code for a substance that can be used as a food additive within the EU (the ‘E’ stands for Europe). There are plenty of dog food additives – essential minerals and vitamins – that are highly beneficial for dogs, are natural ingredients, and also have an E number. Vitamin C, for instance, is E300, found naturally in carrots.
Are E numbers harmful for dogs?
Not all E numbers are artificial colours and flavours, and not all E numbers are bad. In many cases, the opposite is true: any ingredient with an E number has been tested and approved for use in human food, and the amount is restricted to levels that are known to be safe. So in some ways these tested and regulated ingredients are safer than other natural ingredients, which can be included in any amount.
Do E numbers have the same effect in dogs as in humans?
There are studies that associate certain artificial food colourants with hyperactivity in children – which is where E numbers get their bad reputation. And although there are no studies to date that show a similar association between these E numbers and behaviour problems in dogs, we always recommend avoiding dog food that includes artificial colours and flavours.
At tails.com, we don’t use any artificial colours or flavours in our food, which makes it easy for you to make sure they aren’t part of your dog’s diet. You can see the full list of tails.com ingredients here, and you can find out exactly what’s in your dog’s tailor-made food in their profile.
Got more questions about E numbers and food additives? Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help – get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.