Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

CPG Sec. 585.750 Sauerkraut - Definition; Adulteration by Thrips


Food Inspection Decision (F.I.D.) 196, issued August 1925, defined sauerkraut. Since that time the definition, essentially unchanged through the revision that appeared in Service and Regulatory Announcements (S.R.A.) F.D. No. 2, Rev. 5, November 1936, has been used as a guide for officials in enforcing the Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. The definition follows: 

Sauerkraut: The product, of characteristic acid flavor, obtained by the full fermentation, chiefly lactic, of properly prepared and shredded cabbage in the presence of not less than 2 percent nor more than 3 percent of salt. It contains, upon completion of the fermentation, not less than 1.5 percent of acid, expressed as lactic acid. Sauerkraut which has been rebrined in the process of canning or repacking, contains not less than 1 percent of acid, expressed as lactic acid.

Shortly after enactment of the 1938 Act, sauerkraut was among the foods exempted from label declaration of ingredients requirement for labeling of nonstandardized foods. The exemption was based on the expectation that standards would soon be established. However, standards for this product were not established and on September 17, 1959, the exemption was terminated.


In the absence of a standard of identity, the term "sauerkraut" is considered the common or usual name for a product obtained by the lactic acid fermentation of cabbage in the presence of salt. Products which have not been fermented, but owe their acidity to added vinegar, acetic acid or other acidifiers are not entitled to the name sauerkraut. Ingredients of sauerkraut must be listed on the label by their common or usual name in descending order of predominance.


Adulteration by Thrips

The following represents criteria for recommending legal action to CFSAN/Office of *Compliance*/Division of Enforcement (HFS-605):

The sauerkraut exceeds an average of 50 thrips per 100 grams. 

*Material between asterisks is new or revised*

Issued: 8/24/70

Revised: 8/23/73

Reissued: 10/1/80

Revised: 8/15/82

Reissued: 12/8/88

Revised: 3/95, 5/2005

Updated: 11/29/05

Page Last Updated: 03/24/2016
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