Notice to industry – The use of food additives in certain ready-to-eat meat products

May 8, 2019 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reminding industry that the use of food additives in certain ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products must be clearly labelled and advertised.

After a review of undeclared food additives used in certain RTE meat products, CFIA found that some products contain ingredient preparations made of vinegar or fruit juice concentrate. These ingredient preparations were found to be buffered by food additives such as sodium bicarbonate, potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide, which were not declared in the list of ingredients.

Food additives may be used as per Health Canada's lists of permitted food additives; however, it is required by the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) that these food additives be declared in the list of ingredients as either an ingredient or a component of the food (FDR B.01.008).

This does not affect the safety of these products. All food sold in Canada, including RTE meat products, must continue to meet Canada's food safety requirements.

In addition to declaring any food additives, industry may wish to assess labels and advertising to ensure that the information presented is not false or misleading, or creating a false impression (for example, for standards of identity or method of production claims).

Regulated parties should be able to substantiate any claims. This may include providing information to consumers on the meaning of the claim (for example, via a website), by conducting consumer research to substantiate the claim, or other measures to decrease the likelihood that the reasonable consumer will be misled.

Regulated parties have a 12-month transition period, until May 15th, 2020, to bring their labels and advertising into compliance. For the most current requirements, please refer to the Industry Labelling Tool. CFIA will be monitoring compliance to all federal labelling and advertising requirements and conducting follow up inspections to ensure the necessary changes have been made.

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