Ever wondered why you can’t stop munching on Lays chips or other such potato crisps? Or, why are instant noodles a big hit among people of all age groups? All these snacks and many more in the same category thrive on flavour enhancers. These are food additives seemingly approved by the higher authorities to be added to food items with the intent to make them taste better and, of course, sell higher.
Now, such things don’t really concern us as long as we’re happy snacking on them more than other vegan snacks; however, they become a significant matter of consideration when we introduce changes in our diet. For instance, when we turn vegan, even such flavor-enhancing agents suddenly come into the spotlight. For, we want to be 100% sure that we don’t consume anything (big/small) non-vegan. One such food additive over which many eyebrows has been raised regarding its vegan status is E631.
What is E631?
E631 is also commonly known as disodium inosinate and is a food additive that helps improve the taste of several foods. A few examples include instant noodles and potato chips – foods which are absolutely irresistible. In other words, E631 means good taste.
The agent has another use as well, besides being added as a flavor-enhancer. Disodium inosinate has been known to help lower the amount of salt required in a food. It’s therefore often used in potato chips and other foods that demand salt reduction in light of increasing health issues. So, is E631 vegan?
Is E631 Food Additive Vegan?
Now coming to the main question that concerns all vegans, is E631, the so-fondly-used enhancing agent used to improve the taste of our favourite foods really vegan, after all? Sadly, the answer is no.
Sodium inosinate originates from inosinic acid, which is naturally present in a number of animals, including pigs and sardine fish. However, the agent can also be obtained via a natural process that involves bacterial fermentation of sugar.
Now the problem arises when we aren’t really sure whether the disodium inosinate flavor enhancer made from animals or fermented sugar is being used in food products sold commercially. While some brands may use the agent produced from meat of animals and fish, some others may use the fermented version. And it gets worse because there really is no way to find out the source of flavor enhancer 631 because foods containing the additive wouldn’t generally specify its exact source on their ingredients label except for tapioca starch.
This creates a problem for vegans though, therefore, the best practice would be to avoid the E631 food code completely, in case you aren’t sure which one isn’t vegan.
When you turn vegan, it might be difficult to find whether your daily use products are vegan or not. Some such products include Vaseline, soda, tortillas, and many more which you might be worrying of being vegan or not. For such worries, I have formed a vegan FAQs section where I have and will further solve all your queries!
E631 Products List
Here’s a glimpse into the wide range of products where E631 code is accepted as a food additive.
- Lays potato chips
- Cadbury chocolate
- Maggi instant noodles
- Kurkure crisps
- Parle biscuits
Besides the above, a number of other edible products, such as toffees, and toiletries like shaving cream contain a wide range of E number agents. These can be quite misleading especially because not many people are aware of what these E-numbered products stand for. As such, it’s fairly easy to overlook them at the back of your favourite food product, even though they’re clearly listed out there.
You can instead try vegan chips, biscuits, vegan chocolate available and all the vegan recipes and snacks for munching all the time!
However, if you’re a vegan, or have recently turned one, this bit of information would surely interest you. And since it isn’t as simple to determine whether disodium inosinate has been produced from meat of pig fat, fish, or any other animal, you’d want to get a complete list of the source ingredients before purchasing anything edible, to be doubly sure.
For the one’s who have recently turned vegan, registering yourself for an all-day vegan meal plan for the initial stage will definitely boost your confidence in going vegan for longer.
Other Points to Note with E631
There are a couple of other concerns too which may be worth noting when it comes to the consumption of products containing this flavour-enhancing agent.
- Disodium Inosinate is generally not recommended for use in products intended for babies below the age of 12 weeks. You may ideally not find them in baby foods; however, it may always be safer to check the pack before buying.
- Disodium Inosinate may have certain side effects too on certain individuals with specific conditions. For instance, people with asthma are recommended to not consume disodium inosinate. Besides,they should also be avoided in case you’re suffering from gout. That said, the amount of concentration of disodium inosinate used in food is generally very low and is less likely to have side effects.
E631 has been and is still widely used to enhance the flavor of multiple foods since long. It’s only now that questions over its vegan status have emerged. It’s entirely personal choice to continue consuming products containing E631 or switch to vegan alternatives.