These synthetic fats are produced from glycerol and natural fatty acids, from either plant or animal origin. E471 is generally a mixture of several products, and its composition is similar to partially digested natural fat.
Concern for vegetarians and vegans
E471 is mainly produced from vegetable oils, although animal fats are sometimes used and cannot be completely excluded as being present in the product. The fatty acids from each source are chemically identical. However, vegetarians and vegans, not wishing to consume any animal products, generally avoid products containing E471 unless they are certain that it is derived from vegetable oils. Also, because there is a chance of pork fat being present, Muslims and Jews will also avoid products containing E471 unless they know that it is made from vegetable oil.