Health Canada Proposes Modernizing List of Permitted Food Additives

The Food Directorate’s Bureau of Chemical Safety has announced a proposal to modernize the structure and titles of permitted food additives’ lists. Currently, the agency seeks preliminary comments from the food industry and other stakeholders, including the public. This represents an opportunity for businesses to have their say about permitted food additives.

A food additive is any chemical substance that is added to food during preparation or storage and either becomes a part of the food or affects its characteristics for the purpose of achieving a particular technical effect.

Substances that are used in food to maintain its nutritive quality, enhance its keeping quality, make it attractive or to aid in its processing, packaging or storage are all considered to be food additives. However, some substances that aid in the processing of food, under certain conditions, are considered to be food processing aids, not food additives.

Food additives are regulated in Canada under Marketing Authorizations (MAs) issued by the Minister of Health and the Food and Drug Regulations (Regulations). Approved food additives and their permitted conditions of use are set out in the Lists of Permitted Food Additives(Lists) that are incorporated by reference in the MAs and published on the website.

In June 2019, Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada committed to numerous regulatory initiatives under the Agri-food and Aquaculture Sector Regulatory Review Roadmap (Roadmap) including modernizing the regulatory framework for food additives. While these amendments are under development and will be the subject of a formal public consultation following their pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I, as part of this work, Health Canada’s Food Directorate is proposing to 1) modify the structure of the Lists of Permitted Food Additives and 2) modernize the titles of certain Lists. None of the proposed changes would modify currently permitted uses of food additives.

Proposed Revisions to Certain Titles of the Lists of Permitted Food Additives

The Food Directorate also proposes to modernize the titles of certain Lists of Permitted Food Additives. The proposed changes would ensure titles reflect modern terminology and are consistent with the use of similar terms by Australia and New Zealand, the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA), and the Codex. The proposed revisions are not intended to alter the scope of the Lists.

The Food Directorate will accept comments until February 2nd, 2022. The proposal may be revised prior to the pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I. Comments can be submitted by email or in paper format to Health Canada’s Bureau of Chemical Safety at the coordinates below. Please use the words “modernization of food additives lists (NOP-0038)” in the subject line of your e-mail.

Contact Information

For additional information or to submit comments related to this proposal, please contact:

Bureau of Chemical Safety, Food Directorate
251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway
Tunney’s Pasture, PL: 2202C
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9