Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

CPG Sec. 550.550 Maraschino Cherries


Food Inspection Decision 141, issued in 1912 under the Food and Drugs Act of 1906, stated that "maraschino cherries" should be applied only to marasca cherries preserved in maraschino. This decision further described maraschino as a liqueur or cordial prepared by process of fermentation and distillation from the marasca cherry, a small variety of the European wild cherry indigenous to the Dalmatian Mountains. Products prepared from cherries of the Royal Anne type, artificially colored and flavored and put up in flavored sugar sirup might be labeled "Imitation Maraschino Cherries" or, if there was no reference to "Maraschino," might be labeled to show that they are preserved cherries, artificially colored and flavored.

Later, evidence submitted at the hearing held in April 1939 for the purpose of establishing a standard of identity for canned cherries and evidence submitted by a committee representing a trade association showed that the term "Maraschino Cherries" had come to mean to the consumer cherries which have been dyed red, impregnated with sugar and flavored with oil of bitter almonds or a similar flavor. As a result, TC-194, March 15, 1940, was issued in which it was stated that the Food and Drug Administration had reached the conclusion that "Maraschino Cherries" is the common or usual name of cherries prepared in this manner.


The term "Maraschino Cherries" is regarded as the common or usual name of an article consisting of cherries which have been dyed red, impregnated with sugar and packed in a sugar sirup flavored with oil of bitter almonds or a similar flavor.

Labels for "Maraschino Cherries" must bear a listing of ingredients, including those in the packing medium, in descending order of predominance in accord with section 403(i)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and a declaration of the presence of the artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, and any chemical preservative as required by section 403(k) of the Act.

When Maraschino Cherries (or other cherries artificially colored red and flavored) are used as an ingredient in another food, they should be declared on the label of that food as "cherries artificially colored red and flavored" or, if a chemical preservative is present should be labeled with a declaration such as "cherries artificially colored red and flavored, preserved with _______," the blank to be filled in with the name of the chemical preservative.

Issued: 12/3/73
Revised: 10/1/80

Page Last Updated: 03/20/2015
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