Canada is very different from our neighbours to the south, and that’s something that is also true for how we regulate food.
The CFIA, or Canadian Food Inspection Agency, guards what goes into the food that we eat. The FDA, or the US Food and Drug Administration, does the same, but takes a different approach.
Sandra Venneri is the owner of Nutrition Bites Consulting, and explains how exactly the two food regulators approach the allowance of food additives by manufacturers.
“With Canada and things like the UK and EU, they will actually take a very precautionary approach,” Venneri says. “But with the United States, they look at it as: as long as we haven’t any major proof that there is harm, they usually leave it to buyer beware.”
But in the US, it’s hard to tell truly what the effects of a food additive is.
Venneri says it’s a flawed testing system that is to blame.
“One other regulatory thing to be concerned about is that in the United States, a lot of companies, if they want to try to qualify their substance for approval, they can just submit their own studies,” says Venneri.
Despite Canada proving more efficient in regulating food additives, there is no perfect solution.
Venneri’s advice is to read labels, get informed, and understand what you are putting in your body.