Health Canada’s Proposal to Enable the Use of alpha-Cyclodextrin as an Emulsifying, Stabilizing or Thickening Agent in Various Foods

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Health Canada’s Food Directorate received a food additive submission seeking approval for the use of alpha-cyclodextrin in numerous foods at maximum levels of use ranging from 1% to 5%, depending on the food. The petitioner indicated that alpha-cyclodextrin functions primarily as an emulsifier, stabilizer and thickener.

The Food Directorate concluded that information related to the safety and efficacy of alpha-cyclodextrin supports its use for one or more of these functions in the following foods: unstandardized bakery products, beverage whiteners, unstandardized emulsified sauces, unstandardized dips, icings and yogurt. Therefore, Health Canada proposes to enable the use of alpha-cyclodextrin as

  • Beverage whiteners (1%)
  • Icings; Unstandardized dips; Unstandardized emulsified sauces except unstandardized mayonnaise-, salad- or vinaigrette-type dressings (3%)
  • Unstandardized bakery products (2%)
  • Unstandardized mayonnaise-, salad- or vinaigrette-type dressings (5%)
  • Yogurt (2.5%)

Efficacy data and other technical information support the use of alpha-cyclodextrin as a food additive in certain types of oil and water emulsion-based foods (e.g., coffee whiteners, cooking sauces, dips, dressings, icings), yogurt, and certain bakery products.

Most of the alpha-cyclodextrin that is consumed as a food ingredient will be digested by bacteria in the lower intestine to regular dietary components, such as short chain fatty acids. At high consumption amounts (e.g. more than 7 grams per day in the case of alpha cyclodextrin), consumers may experience mild gastrointestinal effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. This is not unusual with high consumption of isolated fibre sources, and these effects are expected to resolve within hours of stopping intake of alpha-cyclodextrin, without the need for additional treatment.

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