Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
What is E471? We've spent some time looking at ingredient lists in Europe and some of them contain these difficult-to-decipher codes. These are codes for food additives that are used throughout Europe. Food additives aren't all bad, but it is important to know what could be soy (or soy-based). As it turns out, E471 is one to watch out for.
E471 is an emulsifier that can be made with soy (think: soy lecithin). The trick is that it doesn't have to be soy-based, but since there isn't any way to tell which type of E471 is used in a product, we recommend avoiding it if you avoid soy lecithin. E471 is similar to glycerin, which may or may not cause any soy-intolerance issues.
It strikes us as a little odd that it is impossible to know if the E471 in a particular product is soy-based or animal-based. Not only does it make it difficult for people with a soy allergy or intolerance, E471 can be made with animal products so it affects vegetarians/vegans as well.
This type of product highlights the very messy nature of food intolerances. E471 should have very little, if any, reaction-causing characteristics. So for almost everyone it is fine to consume, but we still avoid it because Ashley has trouble with soy lecithin and E471 could be made from soy. We'll keep our eye out for more clarity in food additives in Europe, but in the mean time, we'll also be avoiding E471 in our foods.