|According to Health Canada a food additive is any chemical substance that is added to food during preparation or storage. A food additive either becomes a part of the food or affects its characteristics for achieving a particular effect. For instance, substances that are used to enhance the appearance, texture, or to keep qualities of a food are considered food additives.||
Food additives are regulated in Canada under the
Food and Drug Regulations. All
permitted food additives and their conditions of use are listed in
the tables of
Division 16 of these Regulations.
The use of an additive will not be allowed if it is considered to
constitute a hazard to health in the amounts which would be present
Health Canada has developed a food additive dictionary to help you become familiar with the chemical names of food additives and the reasons for their addition to foods.
Food additives under division 16 of the Food and Drug Regulations include the following sections (View useful tips to search food additives within this page):
Anticaking agents keep powders such as tea, coffee, sugar, salt
etc. flowing freely by preventing agglomeration and formation of
lumps. For example, milk powder would turn into a solid chunk during
damp weather without an anticaking agent.
The permitted anticaking agents include:
The permitted bleaching, maturing and dough conditioning agents include:
Acetone Peroxide, Ammonium Persulphate, Ascorbic Acid,
Azodicarbonamide, Benzoyl Peroxide, Calcium Iodate, Calcium
Peroxide, Calcium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Chlorine, Chorine Dioxide,
L-Cysteine Hydrochloride, Potassium Iodate, Potassium Persulphate,
Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Sodium Stearyl Fumarate and Sodium
Colouring agents simulate a colour that is perceived by the consumer as natural and also provide food products an appetizing appearance. Factors such as processing, storage and seasonal variation can result in unattractive or unfamiliar colour. For example, fruits are sometimes dyed to cover natural variations in colour.
A list of permitted colouring agents and the maximum level of use can be found in Table III, Division 16.
The permitted colouring agents include:
Aluminum Metal, Alkanet, Annatto, Anthocyanins, Beet Red,
Canthaxanthin, Carbon Black, Carotene, Charcoal, Chlorophyll,
Cochineal, Iron Oxide, Orchil, Paprika, Riboflavin, Saffron,
Saunderswood, Silver Metal, Titanium Dioxide, Turmeric, Xanthophyll, b-apo-8'-carotenal Ethyl
b-apo-8'-carotenoate, Caramel, Allura
Red Amaranth, Erythrosine Indigotine, Sunset Yellow FCF, Tartrazine,
Brilliant Blue FCF, Fast Green FCF, Citrus Red No. 2, Ponceau SX and
A list of permitted emulsifying, gelling, stabilizing and thickening agents and the maximum level of use can be found in Table IV, Division 16.
The permitted emulsifying, gelling, stabilizing and thickening agents include:
Acacia Gum, Acetylated Monoglycerides, Acetylated Tartaric Acid
Esters of Mono- and Di-glycerides, Agar, Algin, Alginic Acid,
Ammonium Alginate, Ammonium Carrageenan, Ammonium Furcelleran,
Ammonium Salt of Phosphorylated Glyceride, Arabino-galactan, Baker's
yeast Glycan, Calcium Alginate, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium
Carrageenan, Calcium Citrate, Calcium Furcelleran, Calcium
Gluconate, Calcium Glycerophosphate, Calcium Hypophosphite, Calcium
Phosphate dibasic, Calcium Phosphate tribasic, Calcium Sulphate,
Calcium Tartrate, Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Carob Bean Gum,
Carrageenan, Cellulose Gum, Furcelleran, Gelatin, Gellan Gum, Guar
Gum, Gum Arabic, Hydroxylated Lecithin, Hydroxypropyl Cellulose,
Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Irish Moss Gelose, Karaya Gum,
Lactylated Mono and Di-glycerides, Lactylic Esters of Fatty Acids,
Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Magnesium Chloride, Methylcellulose,
Methyl Ethyl Cellulose, Mono-glycerides, Mono and Di-glycerides, Monosodium Salts of Phosphorylated Mono- and Di-glycerides, Oat Gum, Pectin,
Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Polyglycerol Esters of
Interesterified Castor Oil Fatty Acids, Polyoxyethylene (20)Sorbitan
Monooleate (Polysorbate 80), Polyoxyethylene (20) Sorbitan Monostearate
(Polysorbate 60), Polyoxyethylene (20) Sorbitan Tristearate (Polysorbate 65),
Polyoxyethylene (8) Stearate, Potassium Alginate, Potassium Carrageenan,
Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Potassium Furcelleran,
Potassium Phosphate dibasic, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Propylene
Glycol Ether of Methylcellulose, Propylene Glycol Mono Fatty Acid
Esters, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Alginate, Sodium Aluminum
Phosphate, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Sodium Carrageenan,
Sodium Cellulose Glycolate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Furcelleran,
Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hexametaphophate, Sodium Phosphate dibasic,
Sodium Phosphate monobasic, Sodium Phosphate tribasic, Sodium
Potassium Tartrate, Sodium Pyrophosphate tetrabasic, Sodium
Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Sodium Tartrate, Sodium Tripolyphosphate,
Sorbitan Monostearate, Sorbitan trioleate, Sorbitan Tristearate,
Stearyl Monoglyceridyl Citrate, Sucrose esters of fatty acids,
Tragacanth Gum and Xanthan Gum.
Enzymes promote desirable chemical reactions in food. They can break down specific materials into simpler components or cause changes. For instance Carbohydrases break down complex sugars, like starch, into simpler sugars (glucose).
A list of permitted food enzymes and the maximum level of use can be found in Table V, Division 16.
The permitted food enzymes include:
Decarboxylase, Aminopeptidase, Amylase, Amylase (maltogenic), Bovine
Rennet, Bromelain, Catalase, Cellulase, Chymosin, Chymosin A,
Chymosin B, Ficin, Glucoamylase (Amyloglucosidase; Maltase),
Glucanase, Glucose Oxidase, Glucose Isomerasa, Hemicellulase,
Inulinase, Invertase, Lipase, Lipoxidase, Lysozyme, Milk coagulating
enzyme, Pancreatin, Papain, Pectinase, Pentosanase, Pepsin,
Protease, Pullulanase, Rennet, Transglutaminase, Trypsin and
Firming agents prevent the softening of processed fruits, vegetables and fish, especially during the process of canning in which they receive a severe heat treatment. They are also used to give firmness to the curd of certain types of cheeses.
A list of permitted firming agents and the maximum level of use can be found in Table VI, Division 16.
The permitted firming agents include:
Aluminum Sulphate, Ammonium Aluminum, Ammonium Sulphate, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Citrate, Calcium Gluconate, Calcium Lactate, Calcium Phosphate dibasic, Calcium Phosphate monobasic, Calcium Sulphate, Potassium Aluminum Sulphate and Sodium Aluminum Sulphate.
Glazing and polishing agents give a protective, coating or polishing surface to food products, particularly used on confectionery and on some vegetables and fruits. In some cases, they offer protection from spoiling. Glazing and polishing agents are mostly based on waxes.
A list of permitted glazing and polishing agents and the maximum levels of use can be found in Table VII, Division 16.
The permitted glazing and polishing agents include:
Acetylated Monoglycerides, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Candelilla Wax,
Gum Arabic, Gum Benzoin, Magnesium Silicate, Mineral Oil,
Petrolatum, Shellac, Spermaceti Wax and Zein.
Miscellaneous food additives include propellants, fillers, whipping agents, conditioning agents, anticoagulants, antifoaming agents, humectants, aerating agents, etc.
A list of permitted miscellaneous additives and the maximum level of use can be found in Table VIII, Division 16.
The permitted miscellaneous additives include:
Acacia Gum, Acetylated Monoglycerides, Agar, Aluminum Sulphate,
Ammonium Persulphate, Beeswax, Benzoyl Peroxide, Brominated
vegetable oil, n-Butane, Caffeine, Caffeine Citrate, Calcium
Carbonate, Calcium Lactate, Calcium Oxide, Calcium Phosphate
dibasic, Calcium Phosphate tribasic, Calcium Silicate, Calcium
Stearate, Calcium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Calcium Sulphate, Carbon
Dioxide, Castor Oil, Cellulose Microcrystalline, Cellulose Powdered,
Chloropentafluoroethane, Citric Acid, Copper Gluconate, Copper
Sulphate, Dimethylpolysiloxane Formulations, Dioctyl Sodium
Sulfosuccinate, Ethoxyquin, Ethylene Oxide, Ferrous Gluconate,
Gelatin, Glucono delta Lactone, Glycerol, Glycerol Ester of Wood
Rosin, Hydrogen Peroxide, Isobutane, Lactylic Esters of Fatty Acids,
Lanolin, Lecithin, L-Leucine, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Magnesium
Carbonate, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Silicate,
Magnesium Stearate, Magnesium Sulphate, Methyl Ethyl Cellulose, Microcrystalline
Cellulose, Mineral Oil, Monoacetin, Mono- and di-glycerides,
Mono-glycerides, Nitrogen, Nitrous Oxide, Octafluorocyclobutane,
Oxystearin, Ozone, Pancreas Extract, Paraffin Wax, Petrolatum,
Polyethylene Glycol, Polydextrose, Polyvinylpyrrolidone, Potassium
Aluminum Sulphate, Potassium Ferrocyanide, Potassium
Stearate, Propane, Propylene Glycol, Quillaia Extract, Saponin,
Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Sulphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Carboxymethyl
Cellulose, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Ferrocyanide Decahydrate, Sodium
Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium
Potassium Copper Chlorophyllin, Sodium Phosphate dibasic, Sodium
Pyrophosphate tetrabasic, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium
Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Sodium Sulphate, Sodium Sulphite, Sodium Thiosulphate, Sodium
Tripolyphosphate, Stannous Chloride, Stearic Acid, Sodium Methyl
Sulphate, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Sulphuric Acid, Talc, Tannic
Acid, Triacetin and Triethyl Citrate.
Sweeteners are substances used to sweeten foods other than conventional nutritive sweeteners such as sucrose or glucose. They often sweeten with a minimum contribution to a food's caloric value.
A list of permitted sweeteners and the maximum level of use can be found in Table IX, Division 16.
The permitted sweeteners include:
Acesulfame-potassium, Aspartame, Erythritol, Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, Isomalt, Lactitol, Maltitol, Maltitol syrup, Mannitol, Neotame, Sorbitol, Sorbitol Syrup, Sucralose, Thaumatin and Xylitol.
These agents maintain the acid-alkali balance (pH) of foods at a desired level, which can affect microbiological quality, cooking results, flavour and texture. Acids are also required to release carbon dioxide from leavening agents which make baked products light and fluffy.
A list of permitted pH adjusting agents, acid-reacting materials and water correcting agents and the maximum level of use can be found in Table X, Division 16.
The permitted pH adjusting agents, acid-reacting materials and water correcting agents include:
Acetic Acid, Adipic Acid, Ammonium Aluminum Sulphate, Ammonium
Bicarbonate, Ammonium Carbonate, Ammonium Citrate dibasic, Ammonium
Citrate monobasic, Ammonium Hydroxide, Ammonium Phosphate dibasic,
Ammonium Phosphate monobasic, Calcium Acetate, Calcium Carbonate,
Calcium Chloride, Calcium Citrate, Calcium Fumarate, Calcium
Gluconate, Calcium Hydroxide, Calcium Lactate, Calcium Oxide,
Calcium Phosphate mono, di and tribasic, Calcium Sulphate, Carbon
Dioxide, Citric Acid, Cream of Tartar, Fumaric Acid, Gluconic Acid,
Glucono-delta-lactone, Hydrochloric Acid, Lactic Acid, Magnesium
Carbonate, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Fumarate, Magnesium
Hydroxide, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Malic Acid,
Manganese Sulphate, Metatartaric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium
Acid Tartrate, Potassium Aluminum Sulphate, Potassium Bicarbonate,
Potassium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate,
Potassium Fumarate, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Lactate,
Potassium Phosphate dibasic, Potassium Sulphate, Potassium Tartrate,
Sodium Acetate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Acid Tartrate,
Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Aluminum Sulphate, Sodium
Bicarbonate, Sodium Bisulphate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Citrate,
Sodium Fumarate, Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium
Hydroxide, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Phosphate mono, di and tribasic,
Sodium Potassium Tartrate, Sodium Pyrophosphate tetrabasic, Sodium
Tripolyphosphate, Sulphuric Acid, Sulphurous Acid and Tartaric Acid.
Preservatives are used to prevent or delay undesirable spoilage in food, caused by microbial growth or enzymatic and chemical actions. For instance, antimicrobial agents prevent the growth of moulds, yeast, or bacteria in foods. Some preservatives, such as acetic acid and citric acid are permitted according to good manufacturing practice. Other preservatives, like sulfurous acid and sulfites can cause serious problems in some asthmatic individuals and regulations permit their use only in low levels. Nitrite and nitrate salts (used in meat curing) have been determined to be cancer-causing agents and only minimal levels are permitted.
A list of permitted class I, II, III and IV preservatives and the maximum level of use can be found in Table XI, Part I, II, III and IV, Division 16.
The permitted class I preservatives include:
Acetic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Ascorbate, Erythorbic Acid, IsoAscorbic Acid, Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Nitrite, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium IsoAscorbate, Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrite and Wood Smoke.
The permitted class II preservatives include:
Benzoic Acid, Calcium Sorbate, 4-Hexylresorcinol, Methyl-r-hydroxyBenzoate, Methyl Paraben, Potassium Benzoate, Potassium Bisulphite, Potassium Metabi-sulphite, Potassium Sorbate, Propyl-r-hydroxyBenzoate, Propyl Paraben, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Bisulphite, Sodium Metabisulphite, Sodium Salt of Methyl-r-hydroxy Benzoic Acid, Sodium Salt of Propyl-r-hydroxyBenzoic Acid, Sodium Sorbate, Sodium Sulphite, Sodium Dithionite, Sorbic Acid and Sulphurous Acid.
The permitted class III preservatives include:
Calcium Propionate, Calcium Sorbate, Natamycin, Potassium Sorbate, Propionic Acid, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Propionate, Sodium Sorbate and Sorbic Acid.
The permitted class IV preservatives include:
Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Stearate, Butylated
Hydroxyanisole, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Citric Acid,
L-Cysteine, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride, Gum Guaiacum, Lecithin,
Lecithin citrate, Monoglyceride Citrate, Monoisopropyl Citrate,
Propyl 1 Gallate, Tartaric Acid, Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone and
Sequestering agents can combine with metallic elements (especially copper and iron) in food. They prevent metallic elements from taking part in reactions leading to colour or flavour deterioration. For example, the addition of a sequestrant to certain canned food prevents darkening of the product. Metallic elements in the canning water are bound by the additive and are unavailable for other reactions. Sequestering agents improve the quality, color, and stability of canned products.
A list of permitted sequestering agents and the maximum level of use can be found in Table XII, Division 16.
The permitted sequestering agents include:
Ammonium Citrate mono and dibasic, Calcium Citrate, Calcium
Disodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetate, Calcium Disodium EDTA,
Calcium Phosphate mono and tribasic, Calcium Phytate, Citric Acid Disodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetate, Disodium EDTA,
Glycine, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Phosphate monobasic, Potassium
Pyrophosphate tetrabasic, Potassium Phosphate dibasic, Sodium Acid
Pyrophosphate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium
Phosphate mono and dibasic, Sodium Pyrophosphate tetrabasic, Sodium
Tripolyphosphate and Stearyl Citrate.
Starch modifying agents alter starch to enable it to withstand heat processing and freezing. Starch can then maintain the appearance and consistency of foods such as mixes, sauces, and custards.
A list of permitted starch modifying agents and the maximum level of use can be found in Table XIII, Division 16.
The permitted starch modifying agents include:
Acetic Anhydride, Adipic Acid, Aluminum Sulphate, Epichlorhydrin,
Hydrochloric Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide, Magnesium Sulphate, Nitric
Acid, Octenyl Succinic Anhydride, Peracetic Acid, Phosphorus
Oxychloride, Potassium Permanganate, Propylene Oxide, Sodium
Acetate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Chlorite,
Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite, Sodium Trimetaposphate,
Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Succinic Anhydride and Sulphuric Acid.
Yeast foods are agents that serve as nutrients for yeasts during fermentation. Yeast foods serve as a food for the yeast in the preparation of an inoculum. An inoculum is a highly concentrated suspension of yeast to be added to malt mashes for beer-making or to bread dough for leavening purposes.
A list of permitted yeast foods and the maximum level of use can be found in Table XIV, Division 16.
The permitted yeast foods include:
Ammonium Chloride, Ammonium Phosphate mono and dibasic, Ammonium
Sulphate, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Citrate,
Calcium Lactate, Calcium Phosphate mono, di and tribasic, Calcium
Sulphate, Ferrous Sulphate, Manganese Sulphate, Phosphoric Acid,
Potassium Chloride, Potassium Phosphate mono and dibasic, Sodium
Sulphate and Zinc Sulphate.
Carrier or extraction solvents act as vehicles and diluents for food additives and flavours to facilitate their introduction to food or to enable the extraction of substances from food. For example, they are used to extract fats and oils from oil seeds (defatting) and to dissolve oil-soluble dyes and flavourings.
A list of permitted carrier or extraction solvents and the maximum level of use can be found in Table XV, Division 16.
The permitted carrier or extraction solvents include:
Acetone, Benzyl Alcohol, 1,3-Butylene Glycol, Carbon Dioxide, Castor Oil, Ethyl Acetate, Ethyl Alcohol (Ethanol), Ethyl Alcohol Denaturated with methanol, Glycerol (Glycerin), Glyceryl diacetate, Glyceryl Triacetate (Triacetin), Glyceryl Tributyrate (Tributyrin), Hexane, Isopropyl Alcohol (Isopropanol), Methyl Alcohol (Methanol), Methyl Ethyl Ketone (2-butanone), Methylene Chloride (Dichloromethane), Monoglycerides and Diglycerides, Monoglyceride Citrate, 2-Nitropropane, 1,2Propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol), Propylene Glycol mono-esters and diesters of fat-forming Fatty Acids and Triethyl-citrate.
If you need to find the category where a food additive belongs and the maximum level that is allowed in a food product, proceed as follows:
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives does not endorse
any of the laboratories and testing included in the list.
For information on the Food Safety Program contact the CVO/Food Safety Knowledge Centre. For technical information, call 204-795-7968 in Winnipeg; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information, contact your local GO Centre.