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Whey Powder and Derivatives Containing Bleaching Agents

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Benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, which are food additives, are added to liquid whey obtained from coloured cheese production. The benzoyl peroxide bleaches the colour (β-carotene) from the whey. Important factors in the effective use of benzoyl peroxide are the temperature of the whey and the previous heat treatments. High heat treatments of whey normally lead to more difficult discolouration.

Regulatory Requirements:

1) The standard for whey in the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) states:

B.08.049 [S]. Whey

Health Canada's List of permitted food additives with other accepted uses outlines the permitted use of benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide in whey.

B.2.1 Benzoyl Peroxide: Liquid whey destined for the manufacture of dried whey products other than those for use in infant formula. Purpose of Use: To decolourize. Maximum level of use: 100 p.p.m.

H.1 Hydrogen Peroxide: Liquid whey destined for the manufacture of dried whey products. Purpose of Use: To decolourize and maintain pH. Maximum level of use: 100 p.p.m.

2) When whey products are used as an ingredient in other foods, FDR section B.01.009 exempts them from listing components in the ingredient list.

B.01.009 (1) Components of ingredients or of classes of ingredients set out in the following table are not required to be shown on a label:

32. whey, whey powder, concentrated whey, whey butter and whey butter oil

3) FDR provides an exemption for the components of food additive preparations, such as starch used as a carrier for bleaching agents, from being declared in the ingredient listing.

B.01.009 (2) Subject to subsection (3), where a preparation or mixture set out in the table to this subsection is added to a food, the ingredients and components of the preparation or mixture are not required to be shown on the label of that food.

8. food additive preparations

(3) If the preparation or mixture contains:

those ingredients or components must be included in the list of ingredients of the food to which they were added.

The Food and Drugs Act (FDA) provides specific exemptions for products that are destined for export.

37 (1) This Act does not apply to any packaged food, drug, cosmetic or device, not manufactured for consumption in Canada and not sold for consumption in Canada, if the package is marked in distinct overprinting with the word "Export" or "Exportation" and a certificate that the package and its contents do not contravene any known requirement of the law of the country to which it is or is about to be consigned has been issued in respect of the package and its contents in prescribed form and manner.

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) also has exceptions for products destined for export.

16 (1) Any person may export a food that does not meet the requirements of these Regulations, other than a requirement of paragraph 8(1)(c) or (d) or subsection 15(1), if a label applied or attached to the food bears the word "Export" or "exportation" and


1) If the whey powder consists solely of dried whey and no other ingredients (under the may contain section of the standard), then the common name Whey Powder is the ingredient listing.  If the whey powder contains any other ingredients, they must be declared in the ingredient list as per FDR B.01.008.  Therefore, if the whey was treated with catalase and benzoyl peroxide, the ingredient list would be: Ingredients: Whey, Catalase, Benzoyl peroxide.

The FDR requires the following information to be on the label of a shipping container in one of the two official languages:

In some cases, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) may accept a separate accompanying document to identify the information, including ingredient lists, which would normally appear on the label.  Conditions which must be met for the use of accompanying documents are shown below:

When whey powder is destined for further processing and contains a bleaching agent, the CFIA may accept a separate accompanying document to supply the information required, provided that:

For information on the requirement for a lot code or other unique identifier for traceability purposes, consult Traceability-specific labelling requirements.

2) Whey powder can be found in the table following FDR B.01.009, which exempts ingredients from declaring their components when used in another food.  For example, if whey powder made with benzoyl peroxide is used as an ingredient in enriched bread, the ingredient listing could state Whey powder instead of Whey powder (whey, benzoyl peroxide).

3) Benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are food additives. When mixed with starch, they become a food additive preparation. The ingredient list for whey powder produced from whey and hydrogen peroxide that uses starch as a carrier is: Ingredients: Whey, Hydrogen peroxide.

In other words, the food additives (benzoyl peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) must always be declared. Starch does not need to be declared in the list of ingredients, however, if the starch is voluntarily declared, any other ingredients in the preparation also need to be declared [B.01.009(2), FDR]. When starch is declared in the list of ingredients, it must be shown as the name of the plant source plus starch [B.01.010(3)(a), FDR].

If a food allergen or gluten is present, the source must be shown in the list of ingredients or in a food allergen source, gluten source, and added sulphites statement. See List of ingredients and allergens for more information.

Whey Powder for Import

Whey powder and derivatives for import must comply with all regulatory requirements of the FDR and SFCR.

Whey Powder for Export

These rules apply to whey powders and derivatives being exported unless the importing country has different or non-existent requirements on declaring bleaching agents in the ingredient listing. Refer to Regulatory requirements: Trade for more information.

(This page was amended from a record of decision signed February 15th, 2006, by the Agency.)

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