Canadian Crackdown on British Food

Canadian Crackdown on British Food

What Happened?

So, it’s been in the news in Canada and Britain today. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has barred some British food products from being sold in Canada. From the CBC,

British food fans in Saskatoon are stocking up on products that are now considered illegal to sell.

Brit Foods, a specialty store in the city, said it’s been forced to remove a number of popular products from its shelves.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is cracking down on products like Marmite and Irn-Bru,…


Apparently, a shipment containing meat was rejected at Canadian Customs in Montreal. Canada does not allow meat imports from the UK

As a result, other products being imported were also inspected. The two examples that seem to be getting the most press are:


Picture of British Food Irn-Bru CanThis is a Scottish soft drink, pronounced “iron brew”. It contains the ingredients:

Carbonated water, sugar (carbohydrate), citric acid, flavourings (including caffeine and quinine), preservative (E211), colours (E110, E124), ammoniumferric citrate (0.002%)

In Europe, food additives are specified by their E number.  Here, the preservative E211 is Sodium Sulphite.  The two colours, E110 and E124 are Sunset Yellow FCF and Ponceau 4R.  Ponceau 4R is currently not approved for use in the US or Canada.

In 2009, the European Food Safety Authority re-evaluated Ponceau-4R used as a food colouring.  The panel concluded that:

  • There were no long term carcinogenic effects.
  • Combinations of artificial food dyes (including Ponceau 4R) and sodium benzoate have a small but measurable effect on the activity and attention of children.


Picture of British Food MarmiteMarmite is a black, savoury spread for toast or bread.  It can also be used as a cooking ingredient. It is made from spent brewer’s yeast.  It also has vitamins and minerals added.

However, in Canada, the Food and Drug regulations specify which foods are allowed to have vitamins added.  Any food not on the list is prohibited, and this is what happened with the Marmite.

It should be noted that according to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website, manufacturers can request that Health Canada allow for the addition of vitamins and mineral nutrients to foods where not currently permitted.

Was it the Right Move?

Most of the people getting the press are complaining about these products being removed.

In my opinion, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is doing their job. There are rules and regulations for a purpose.

Let me know what you think. Please leave a comment.


Further Reading

From the BBC – Canada orders Briton to stop selling Marmite and Irn-Bru

From the Vancouver Sun – Food inspectors removing British imports from store shelves

From the CBC – Saskatoon shop ordered to pull banned British products

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Posted in Food Additives, Ingredients

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