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In Canada, there is no regulatory definition for processing aids. However, the Food Directorate of Health Canada has defined a processing aid as a substance that:
- is used for a technical effect in food processing or manufacture;
- when used, does not affect the intrinsic characteristics of the food; and
- when used, results in no or negligible residues of the substance or its by-products in or on the finished food.
Food additives are not processing aids. Unlike food additives, processing aids are not considered to be ingredients, and are therefore not required to be declared on prepackaged food labels under FDR. Although there are no regulatory requirements for the preclearance of processing aids as there are for food additives, using processing aids is controlled by subsection 4(1) of the Food and Drugs Act.
Health Canada has developed a policy for differentiating between food additives and food processing aids. This policy provides guidance to determine whether or not a substance is a food additive or a processing aid.
The following table is a list of substances that are added to food during processing for a "processing aid" function, and are not required to be declared in the list of ingredients (because they are not considered food ingredients).
|1.||Hydrogen for hydrogenation purposes, currently exempt under B.01.008|
|2.||Cleansers and sanitizers|
|3.||Head space flushing gases and packaging gases Table Note 1|
|4.||Contact freezing and cooling agents|
|5.||Washing and peeling agents|
|6.||Clarifying or filtering agents used in the processing of fruit juice, oil, vinegar, beer, wine and cider (The latter three categories of standardized alcoholic beverages are currently exempt from ingredient listing.)|
|7.||Catalysts that are essential to the manufacturing process and without which, the final food product would not exist, e.g., nickel, copper, etc.|
|8.||Ion exchange resins, membranes and molecular sieves that are involved in physical separation and that are not incorporated into the food|
|9.||Desiccating agents or oxygen scavengers that are not incorporated into the food|
|10.||Water treatment chemicals for steam production|
- Table Note 1
Includes gases such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide
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