Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

CPG Sec. 567.300 *Bouillon, Bouillon Cubes, Granulated Bouillon*


Trade Correspondence (TC) 133 dated March 7, 1940 stated in part:

"In the case of 'chicken bouillon cubes' we have regarded such name as appropriate if sufficient chicken extractives are present in addition to give definite chicken characteristics, especially flavor. This position was taken in view of the long recognition of the term bouillon cube and for this type product containing large amounts of salt and so-called plant extract (wheat protein derivative in unpurified form) ***"

TC 133 also suggested the name "Granulated Chicken Bouillon Cube" as appropriate for a product with the same composition but in granular form instead of cube form.

Administration Information Letter (AIL) No. 180, March 31, 1950, stated that "as far back as 1913 products containing no meat extractives but having a meat-like flavor due to hydrolyzed plant proteins and salt have been designated as bouillon cubes." This AIL further stated that "In view of the long historical use of this misnomer to describe products of this kind we do not believe that we can initiate regulatory action at this time in the absence of impressive evidence of significant consumer deception." A later AIL, No. 277, quoted from Meat Inspection Memorandum No. 193 issued to Inspectors in charge of Meat Inspection, Owners, and Operators of Official Establishments by Bureau of Animal Industry:

"Bouillon cubes and granulated bouillon cubes containing meat extract and/or animal fats as the only meat or meat by-product ingredient, will not be regarded as meat food products. When such articles are prepared for sale in interstate or foreign commerce, or are offered for importation into the U.S. or its territories, they are subject to the requirements of the FDC Act ***"

Since that time "bouillon" has been subject to the provisions of the *FD&C Act.*

The Food and Drug Administration is aware of no consumer deception in this area although the product as manufactured today still contains very little meat extract.

Bouillon products are made from meat extracts with salt and sometimes artificial flavoring in the form of hydrolyzed plant protein.


For purposes of labeling in accordance with section 403(i) of the *FD&C* Act and section 4(a)(1) of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, the following are considered common or usual names for bouillon and bouillon type products.

  1. Bouillon is the common or usual name of the stock made from meat, usually chicken or beef.
  2. Chicken bouillon cube or beef bouillon cube are appropriate names if the product is made from evaporated bouillon with sufficient chicken or beef extractives present to give definite characteristics, especially flavor, of the designated source. When dissolved in water according to directions the resulting product is bouillon.
  3. Chicken-flavored bouillon cube or beef-flavored bouillon cube contain hydrolyzed plant protein with sufficient chicken and beef extractives to give definite flavor.
  4. Vegetable protein bouillon cube if the food contains no meat or meat extractives.

If the food is in granular form, the word "granulated" may be used in the name of the food in lieu of the word "cube," for example, *"Chicken Bouillon-Granulated"* or "Granulated Beef-Flavored Bouillon."

*Material between asterisks is new or revised*

Issued: 12/31/70
Revised: 10/1/80, 9/1/87

Page Last Updated: 03/20/2015
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