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27. December 2020, 16:19 local time
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Without most Americans realizing it, the Food and Drug Administration has been regulating the ingredients, composition, taste and appearance of many foods for decades. In a small victory for consumer choice and food innovation, the FDA this month proposed the release of the French dressing and frozen cherry pie.
The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 authorizes the FDA to regulate the identity standards of hundreds of foods to ensure uniform labelling. Have you ever wondered why some products have the same taste and look regardless of brand? FDA credit.
The FDA requires ketchup to have a pH of 4,2±0,2, and lemon juice may only be used in quantities necessary to regulate the pH. The consistency must also be such that the flow rate at 20 °C does not exceed 14 cm in 30 seconds. Manufacturers have a lot of room for manoeuvre when it comes to hummus, garlic and salted flavour.
The FDA identification standards have reached thousands of pages in the federal register and are now mainly used by attorneys who can sue manufacturers if their labels do not meet government requirements. That is why some low-fat ice creams are labelled as frozen desserts.
Since 1950, the FDA has required French salad dressing to be made with oil, acidifying ingredients such as vinegar or lemon juice, and 35% vegetable oil by weight, without tomato puree. The FDA is particularly vigilant with regard to the threat of frozen cherry pie.
The fruit content of the cake must be such that the weight of the washed and dried cherries represents at least 25 % of the weight of the cake, according to the FDA, and a maximum of 15 % of the cherries in the cake must not be discoloured by crusts, hail, discoloration, scars or other defects. Cherries with discoloured skin (other than scorched skin) whose cumulative area exceeds the circumference of a circle 39 cm in diameter shall be regarded as discoloured cherries. Cherries showing discolouration at any point extending into the tissue of the fruit shall also be considered infected.
See your government at work. The FDA proposes to repeal these standards, which means that your desserts will no longer be sanctioned by the FDA.
The last time the FDA updated ingredient regulations for many products was in the 1990s, under the leadership of the Commissioner.
to lead the Covid-19 task force. By allowing innovative medicines to languish, Mr Kessler led a campaign against allegedly misleading food labels. Let’s hope the Biden FDA doesn’t drown the American people in regulatory gravy.
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Published in the printed edition of 28. December 2020.
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