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E

E numbers – European Union numbering system for food additives, found in most processed foods. Either animal or vegetable-derived. 
eggs - the unfertilized reproductive cells of domesticated birds especially chickens, ducks, quail and geese. The wild jungle fowl ancestors of chicken hens would have previously laid about a dozen eggs in one clutch and then incubated them – sitting on them to get the right temperature for further development. Years of selective breeding and removal of eggs as soon as they have been laid means that the domestic hen unnaturally produces eggs almost every day. Male chicks are killed as soon as they are hatched (as they cannot lay eggs and are ‘too scrawny’ for chicken meat). Most eggs eaten in the UK are from hens kept in *battery cages. Eggs are used in baked products as a liquid; as an emulsifier of fats (keeping the fat in suspension rather than separating out eg mayonnaise); as a leavening agent (to hold air in cakes to add lightness) and as a binder (to stick food together). Found in foods such as pastry, cakes, biscuits, some pastas, flans, meringues etc. *Lecithin and *lutein are derived from eggs. 
eiderdown - very soft, small *feathers from the rare large sea duck called an Eider duck. Female Eider plucks her own breast *down as nest-liner for her eggs. The down is harvested (especially in Iceland) by repeatedly removing the down and eggs from the nest until the season ends. Un-hatched ducklings die and there is continual disturbance of the female duck. Very expensive material used as a luxury filling in pillows and quilts. 
elastin – protein found in the muscles of meat, used in cosmetics