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What do we talk about when we talk about clean label


Clean Label, often called Clean Dec (decoration) in UK food manufacturers, is not a familiar phrase to consumers. Neither is it a government regulated term such as organic.

The clean label definition varies from brand to brand. The purpose behind the clean label is to provide safe, healthy food in support to our well-being. What do we, the Emma Basic team do, in practicing Clean Label?

  • Remove additives. Legally permitted additives have unique code start from E. Emma Basic brand is determined to remove E numbers from ingredients compound. When formulate the recipe for a new product, we allow less ingredients and permit no additives.

  • Remove Highly processed ingredients. It is a frequently overlooked area.

for instance, refined oils. Replaced with simple ingredients from natural sources made mechanically.


Emma Basic Curry is a typical example of Clean Label products. With Clean Label, it is not what added but what removed counts.

  1. Sugar:Benchmark contains 15.1g /100g sugar, vs Emma Basic curry contains 10g/100g sugar.

  2. Additives MSG: Benchmark contains 3 MSGs: E621, E631 and D627. MSG is banned in the house of Emma Basic.

  3. Additive Emulsifiers: Benchmark contains 3 Emulsifiers: E473, E322, and E471 to make their curry thicker. We use natural chickpea instead.

  4. Additive Colourings: I have to say Emma Basic curry is brighter without using colourings. Why on earth the benchmarks used E150a and still the colour is so unattractive?

  5. Additive Acidity Regulator: Malic acid(E296) is commonly used in curry. Emma Basic curry has no acidity regulators added.

  6. Highly processed ingredients: soybean oil is a highly refined oil extracted via chemical solvent. I myself is a health-conscious consumer, I prefer toil made by crushing & pressing without using chemicals.

  7. Allergens: Milk and gluten are removed from Emma Basic curry. Some benchmarks have removed milk, as milk from Japan is not permitted entry to EU or the UK. However, the allergen declare, milk is mentioned due to risk for contamination. Emma Basic curry contains no milk, suitable for vegans.

What do we do for single ingredient product, in which no additive there for us to remove? We focus on the level of harmful contaminants. Check and verify chemical, microbiology, and genetic testing, are our daily practice. For instance, sesame products have 4 potential risks we investigate for every batch:

  1. Pesticide, chlorpyrifos. India Sesame seeds and oil have constantly been caught and rejected by Port Health in varies EU ports. Typically, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany.

  2. Micro: Salmonella, in sesame seeds

  3. 3-MCPD and glycidyl esters in sesame seeds oil.

  4. Ethylene Oxide. Ethylene Oxide is used in India to sterilize sesame seeds! Long-term exposure to ethylene oxide, increase the risk of white blood cell cancer such as leukaemia, also increase the risk of breast cancer. India Sesame seeds and oil have constantly been inspected & rejected by Port Health in varies EU ports. Typically, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland etc.

  5. Aflatoxin B1 poisoning and increase the risk of liver cancer. Aflatoxin often occurs in nuts and its oil is carcinogenic, potential to cause cancer. I have often heard about Aflatoxin B1 in my childhood. Every time I eat food made of peanuts, I worry the risk of taking aflatoxin.

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