Is 631 vegan?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is 631 vegan?” and will discuss the products which use E631 in their processing.

Is 631 vegan?

E631 may be a vegan or not. Instant noodles, potato chips, and other snacks may contain E631, which is also known as Disodium Inosinate. However, it may be made “vegan” with tapioca starch, instead of the customary animal products like pork and fish. 

Industrially, this additive is produced by the hydrolysis of RNA of yeast extracts, or the biotechnological process of fermentation using bacteria and therefore, most of the additives used in the food and feed industry are vegan (1). 

Ninety percent of Americans, 2 years old or older, consume more sodium than the tolerable upper intake level of 2,300 mg per day. About 77% of sodium consumed comes from processed and prepared food. Flavor enhancers are ingredients added to food to modify, increase, or add to an original taste or aroma, while not contributing its own taste or aroma. The FDA has generally recognized as safe and regulated flavor enhancers that are aimed to improve the palatability of reduced sodium products by contributing a savory taste (5).

E631 use as a food additive

MSG’s synergistic effect provides the umami flavor of disodium inosinate (DI). Disodium guanylate and disodium 5′-ribonucleotides are often used together in meals.

The most economically important nucleotides (nucleosides 5´-monophosphate) for the food industry are inosine-5´-monophosphate (5´-IMP) and guanosine-5´-monophosphate (5´-GMP), which are umami-tasting compounds used as flavor enhancers in different food products. On an industrial scale, these compounds can be produced by chemical and biological (microbial and enzymatic) methods, or by a combination of both (chemoenzymatic methods). However, industrial processes for large-scale production of 5´-nucleotides are mostly based on the enzymatic degradation of yeast RNA to produce precursor compounds which are then enzymatically converted into the flavor enhancers (2).

In the absence of MSG, disodium inosinate may be included in a list of ingredients, but it is conceivable that glutamic acid is given by another component or is naturally occurring in another item like tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, or yeast extract.

Can you eat E631 Food Additive since it is vegan?

The E631 disodium inosinate is not vegan since it is made from inosinic acid, which is found in a variety of animals, including pigs and sardines. It may also be obtained by a natural method that uses microbes to ferment sugar. However, we don’t know how E631 is made.

In this case, we’re not sure whether the flavor enhancer, disodium inosinate, which is generated from animals, or sugar, is utilized in commercial goods.

 On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, in an industrial scale, the additive E631 is produced by biotechnological pathways, and the most common one is the enzymatic hydrolysis of yeast. Yeast, featuring high nucleic acids’ content, attaining even over 10% RNA in their dry mass substance, is the source of obtaining 5’-nucleotides: 5’-GMP and 5’-IMP. After the process of autolysis and a partial hydrolysis of nucleic acids with the use of different methods, among the most frequently used enzymatic method with 5’-phosphodiesterase, 5’-nucleotides are extracted from the yeast  biomass or left in the extract, which results in obtaining an enriched extract. Spent brewery yeast may constitute a material for obtaining yeast extracts enriched with 5’-nucleotides (1).

Some brands, however, may utilize meat or fish-derived emulsifiers, while others may use fermented ones. Worse, because items using flavor enhancer 631 don’t usually mention their particular source on their ingredients label (except tapioca starch), it’s impossible to determine the additive’s source entirely.

When it comes to vegans and E631 food codes in general, it’s better to avoid them at all costs, since they might be difficult to identify.

When you become a vegan, it may be tough to find out whether the things you use regularly are vegan. Vaseline, Pepsi, tortillas, and a slew of other common household items might have you questioning whether or not they are vegan-friendly. 

The list of products containing E631as flavor enhancer

The flavor enhancers used to provide umami taste is a growing market. The global market for nucleotides as food ingredients was US$403.1 million in 2014 and is expected to reach US$809.3 million by 2022 (2). Flavor enhancers are alternatives that can be used to reduce the sodium content in food products. They are naturally-occurring compounds found in some foods, being characterized by the presence of the amino acid glutamate, or by nucleotides inosinate and guanylate. Those substances can increase salivation and facilitate dissolution of food, providing a favorable chemical environment for the perception of taste by the recipient cells. It can be strategically used to reduce the sodium intake of patients suffering from high blood pressure and reduce the overall intake of sodium through industrialized food, since excessive sodium intake is correlated with the development of various chronic noncommunicable diseases (3).

Here’s a look at some of the goods that may use the E631 food additive code.

  • Potato chips made by Lays may be found in supermarkets (including Lays Stax)
  • Cadbury’s confectionery
  • Noodles made by Maggi
  • Crisps made by the Japanese company, Kurkure.
  • Biscuits made with whole wheat flour

It is recommended to look for a substitute for Lay’s Stax, Pringles, Cadbury chocolate, and Maggie Noodles. There is a vegan equivalent to every non-vegan product.

 Toffees and shaving cream, among other goods, include a broad variety of E numbers. Because few consumers are aware of what E-numbered items stand for, they may be highly deceiving. Even if they’re prominently mentioned on the back of your favorite food product, it’s easy to ignore them.

Vegan chips like vegetable straw (first verify which varieties of veggie straw are vegan and then add in your list) may be substituted, as can biscuits and vegan chocolates, as well as all the other vegan dishes and snacks.

You’ll be interested in this information if you’re a vegan or have just become one. There are many different sources of disodium inosinate, and because it’s not easy to tell whether it’s been made from pig fat, fish, or another animal, you’ll want to receive a thorough list of components before you buy anything edible.

Other E631 Facts to Consider

When it comes to the intake of goods containing this flavor-enhancing chemical, there are a few more things to keep in mind.

In general, the use of MSG is not a health hazard to consumers. However, some individuals who consume MSG may exhibit an allergic-type reaction or hypersensitivity-a burning sensation, facial pressure, headache, nausea and chest pains appearing about 20 minutes after consumption and disappearing about two hours later. Such reactions have generally been reported to be temporary and not associated with severe adverse health effects. People sensitive enough to be affected are advised to avoid the use of this substance (4).

In general, it is not advised to use Disodium Inosinate in products meant for newborns less than 12 weeks. It’s usually a good idea to examine the label before purchasing baby food, even if it’s not necessary. Find some of the top vegan baby formula brands below.

As with every medication, Disodium Inosinate has its own set of potential side effects for certain people with particular medical problems. Disodium inosinate, for example, is not suggested for those with asthma. In addition, if you have gout, you should avoid these foods. Although disodium inosinate is often used in food, its concentration is usually quite low, making it less likely to cause adverse reactions in the general population.

Safety and toxicology

Flavor enhancers (MSG, GMP and IMP) are listed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) substances and thus have no established daily intake index. However, the Scientific Food Committee determines a limit of use of MSG of 10 g of MSG/kg of food, that is, 1% when used individually (3).

4 mg of additional 5′-ribonucleotides are consumed daily in the United States, compared to 2 g of naturally occurring purines. There was no indication of carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, or adverse reproductive effects after a review of the scientific literature by an FDA committee. Although disodium inosinate was removed from the Codex Alimentarius Commission list of food additives in 2004.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is 631 vegan?” and discussed the products which use E631 in their processing.

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Paulino, Bruno N., et al. Biotechnological production of non-volatile flavor compounds. Curr Opin Food Sci, 2021, 41, 26-35.


Joute, Jerry R., et al. Food additives and their associated health risks. Int J Vet Sci Anim Husb, 2016, 1, 1-5.


EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP), et al. Safety and efficacy of IMP (disodium 5′‐inosinate) produced by fermentation with Corynebacterium stationis KCCM 80161 for all animal species. EFSA Journal, 2020, 18.5,  e06140.