Whey Powder and Derivatives Containing Bleaching Agents

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Question or Description of Problem:

1) If whey powder contains benzoyl peroxide or hydrogen peroxide as a bleaching agent, are they required to be listed in the list of ingredients when whey powder is the final product? 

2) Does benzoyl peroxide or hydrogen peroxide need to be declared when the whey powder is used as an ingredient in another product?

3) Is starch required to be present in the ingredient listing when it is used as a carrier for the bleaching agent?


Benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, food additives, are added to liquid whey from coloured cheese production. The benzoyl peroxide bleaches the color (β-carotene) from the whey. Important factors in the effective use of benzoyl peroxide are the temperature of the whey and the previous heat treatments. High heat treatments to whey normally lead to more difficult discolouration.

Regulatory Requirements:

1) The standard for whey in the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) states:

B.08.049. [S]. Whey

  • (a) shall be the product remaining after the curd has been removed from milk in the process of making cheese; and
  • (b) may contain:
    • (i) catalase, in the case of liquid whey that has been treated with hydrogen peroxide,
    • (ii) lactase,
    • (iii) hydrogen peroxide, in the case of liquid whey destined for the manufacture of dried whey products, and
    • (iv) benzoyl peroxide and calcium phosphate tribasic, as a carrier of the benzoyl peroxide, in the case of liquid whey destined for the manufacture of dried whey products other than those for use in infant formula.

The Dairy Product Regulations (DPR), Section 2 defines whey powder as whey in powder form.

Division 16, Table VIII in the FDR, outlines the permitted use of benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide in whey:

B.2.1 Benzoyl Peroxide: Liquid whey destined for the manufacture of dried whey products other than those for use in infant formula. Purpose of use: To decolourize. Maximum level of use: 100 p.p.m

H.1 Hydrogen Peroxide: Liquid whey destined for the manufacture of dried whey products

Purpose of Use: To decolourize and maintain pH. Maximum level of use: 100 p.p.m

2) When whey products are used as an ingredient in other foods, FDR section B.01.009 exempts them from listing components in the ingredient list.
B.01.009. (1) Components of ingredients or of classes of ingredients set out in the following table are not required to be shown on a label:
32. whey, whey powder, concentrated whey, whey butter and whey butter oil

3) FDR provides an exemption for the components of food additive preparations, such as starch used as a carrier for bleaching agents, from being declared in the ingredient listing.

B.01.009. "(2) Subject to subsection (3), where a preparation or mixture set out in the table to this subsection is added to a food, the ingredients and components of the preparation or mixture are not required to be shown on the label of that food.
8. food additive preparations
If the preparation or mixture contains:

  • salt,
  • glutamic acid or its salts,
  • hydrolysed plant protein,
  • aspartame,
  • potassium chloride,
  • peanut oil, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated peanut oil, modified peanut oil,
  • lysozyme (from egg white) and
  • any ingredient or component that performs a function in, or has any effect on that food, those ingredients or components must be included in the list of ingredients of the food to which they were added."

The Food and Drug Act (FDA) provides specific exemptions for products that are destined for export.

"37. (1) This Act does not apply to any packaged food, drug, cosmetic or device, not manufactured for consumption in Canada and not sold for consumption in Canada, if the package is marked in distinct overprinting with the word "Export" or "Exportation" and a certificate that the package and its contents do not contravene any known requirement of the law of the country to which it is or is about to be consigned has been issued in respect of the package and its contents in prescribed form and manner."

The DPR also has special provisions for products destined for export.

"24 (3) A dairy product that does not meet the requirements of these Regulations may be exported where

  • (a) an inspector is provided with a signed statement from the shipper that the dairy product meets the requirements of the importing country, and
  • (b) the statement referred to in paragraph (a) is included in the export documentation."


1) If the whey powder consists solely of dried whey and no may contain ingredients, then the common name Whey Powder is the ingredient listing.  If the whey powder contains any of the may contain ingredients, they must be declared in the ingredient list as per FDR B.01.008.  Therefore, if the whey was treated with catalase and benzoyl peroxide the ingredient list would be: Ingredients: Whey, catalase, benzoyl peroxide.

The FDR requires the following information to be on the label of a shipping container in one of the two official languages:

  • the net quantity declaration (as prescribed by the Weights and Measures Act)
  • the common name of the food
  • the name and address of the legal agent
  • the list of ingredients
  • any other information that may be required by the Food and Drug Regulations, e.g., nutrition information, storage instructions, etc.

In some cases, administratively CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) has accepted a separate accompanying document to identify the information, including ingredient lists, which would normally appear on the label.  Conditions which must be met for the use of accompanying documents are shown below:

  • the non-retail container must be identified so it can be immediately associated or related to that document;
  • the information must be delivered to the customer with the merchandise each time it is delivered;
  • the information must be factual, complete and written as if it was part of a label;
  • the proper name of the ingredients must be used and listed as per their decreasing order of proportion or as a percentage
  • the necessary information must be able to be retrieved for the inspector without undue delay.

Since whey powder is exempt from listing its components when used as an ingredient, when whey powder destined for further processing contains a bleaching agent, the CFIA Dairy Program will accept a separate accompanying document to supply the information required provided that:

  • a) the information accompanies each shipment
  • b) the document is linked to the shipment by means of a lot number or tracking number

2) Whey powder can be found in the table following FDR B.01.009, which exempts ingredients from declaring their components when used in another food.  For example, if whey powder made with benzoyl peroxide is used as an ingredient in enriched bread, the ingredient listing would state whey powder not whey powder (whey, benzoyl peroxide).

3) Benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are food additives. When mixed with starch they become a food additive preparation. The ingredient list for whey powder produced from whey and hydrogen peroxide that uses starch as a carrier is whey powder: whey, hydrogen peroxide. Due to allergen concerns it is recommended that the source of the starch be declared, however, if the starch is declared any other ingredients in the preparation would also need to be declared. In other words, the food additives (benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide) must be declared; if you choose to also declare the starch, you must then declare all other ingredients in the preparation as well (if any).

Powder for Import

Whey powder and derivatives for import must comply with the above regulations.

Powder for Export

These rules apply to whey powders and derivatives being exported unless the importing country's regulations do not require bleaching agents to be declared in the ingredient listing. This must be demonstrated to the inspector with a signed statement from the shipper (legal agent) and be included in the export documentation.

Ann Fillmore
Recommended by: Program Chief
April 14, 2008
Tom Hauschild
Approved by: National Manager
April 15, 2008
Date modified: