What does Food Manufacturing/Processing Aids mean for your product label?
The ingredient declaration of seasoning and spice blends often include a few ingredients, at the end of the list, which are followed by the term (mfg aid). What does (mfg aid) mean and how does it affect the ingredient declaration of the finished retail food product?
There is no regulatory definition of food manufacturing/ processing aid in Canada. Canadian regulators have used “manufacturing aid” in an informal manner for substances used as adjuncts in food processing and manufacture. Most manufacturing aids are not mentioned in the Regulations. Unlike food additives, there is no regulatory requirement for pre-clearence of new manufacturing aids. But like all substances used in food, a manufacturing aid is controlled by section 4, part I of the Act – it must be of suitable food-grade quality and safe for its intended use.
Food Directorate’s definition of food manufacturing aid
A food manufacturing aid is a substance that is used for a technical effect in food processing or manufacture, the use of which does not affect the characteristics of the food and results in no or negligible residues of the substance in or on the finished product.
Common Manufacturing Aids and their function are:
- Calcium Silicate and Silicon Dioxide– act as an anticaking agent to keep dry ingredients free flowing and to prevent hardening during storage. Usage level is between 0.5- 1.0 % of the dry blend.
- Polysorbate 80 and Propylene Glycol– used as an emulsifier to make food flavours and extracts dispersible in water. Usage level is usually equal to the flavour compound, 0.1-1.0% .
- Vegetable Oils – used as an anti-dusting agent during the blending or manufacturing process. They are also used to obtain a uniform distribution of ingredients, to prevent the separation of light or large particles such herb flakes from smaller, denser ground spice or salt. Usage level is 0.5- 2.0% of the dry blend
It is important that a substance is appropriately identified as a manufacturing aid or as a food additive. “Food additive” is defined in section B.01.001 of the Regulations as:
any substance which becomes a part of or affects the characteristics of a food, but does not include:
- any nutritive material commonly sold as food
- vitamins, minerals and amino acids, other than those listed in Division 16
- spices, seasonings, flavouring preparations, and extracts
- agricultural chemicals, other than those in Division 16
- food packaging material
- drugs administered to animals that may be consumed as food
Food additives currently permitted in Canada are
or those permitted for use through an Interim Marketing Authorization are listed at:
Labelling for Manufacturing Aids
Manufacturing aids fall outside the regulatory definitions of “food additive” and food “ingredient”. As a result, manufacturing aids are not required under the Food and Drug Regulations to be declared on prepackaged food labels. Manufacturing aids differ from food additives and food ingredients in that they are not present in the finished food, or are present in a negligible amount.
For further information: