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Decisions: Additives


Caffeine - Caffeine in Root Beer

Question: Is the additive caffeine permitted for use in root beer? Is root beer considered a cola-type beverage?

Answer: Health Canada stated that no objection would be taken to the addition of caffeine to root beer. For the purposes of the use of the additive caffeine, root beer is considered a cola type beverage.

The decision was based on the fact that traditionally, root beer has used natural sources of caffeine such as the kola nut. The similarity in the physical characteristics of root beer and cola beverages is also a factor.

An Interim Marketing Authorization (IMA) was issued by Health Canada in March, 2010, to permit the use of caffeine and caffeine citrate as food additives in non-alcoholic carbonated water-based flavoured and sweetened beverages (commonly referred to as carbonated soft drinks) other than cola type beverages. Refer to Health Canada's Preliminary Guidance for Industry on the Labelling of Caffeine Content in Prepackaged Foods for more information.


Glycerol ester of wood rosin - common name "ester gum"

Question: Are we accepting the synonym for the above food additive that is used in the U.S., namely "ester gum"? If so, what would be the accepted French translation of "ester gum"?

Decision: No objection will be taken to the use of the term "ester gum" (gomme d'ester) to describe the food additive glycerol ester of wood rosin in a list of ingredients, when the food additive is an ingredient in another food. However, the common name glycerol ester of wood rosin, as shown in Division 16, Part B, of the Food and Drug Regulations should be used on the label of any substance or mixture of substances used as a food additive or food additive preparation (list of ingredients or common name).

The Food and Drug Regulations were amended on February 11, 1999 to permit the use of a glycerol ester of wood rosin as a density adjusting agent in citrus flavoured and spruce flavoured beverages.

There is international acceptance for the use of the term "ester gum". The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives publication Compendium of Food Additive Specifications (Rome 1992 edition), provides "ester gum" as an alternative name for glycerol ester of wood rosin. (HQ/1999)


TBHQ - Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone - abbreviation as common name

Question: Is the abbreviation TBHQ an acceptable common name for Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone?

Decision: Yes, the abbreviation TBHQ is considered an acceptable common name. There is international acceptance for the use of the abbreviation TBHQ. The abbreviation has already become the common name for the additive in the U.S. In addition, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) publication Compendium of Food Additive Specifications (Rome 1995 edition, Addendum 3), provides TBHQ as a synonym for tertiary butylhydroquinone.