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  1. FDA In Brief

FDA In Brief: FDA Reopens Comment Period Related to General Principles for Food Standards of Identity Modernization

February 20, 2020

Media Inquiries

  Nathan Arnold

The following quote is attributed to Claudine Kavanaugh, Ph.D., MPH, RD, Director of the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition:

“The FDA began establishing food standards of identity to promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers shortly after the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was enacted in 1938. Standards of identity describe in detail what a food product must contain, how it must be proportioned and sometimes how it must be manufactured. For example, products like ‘milk chocolate,’ ‘bread’ and even ‘ketchup’ all have standards of identity.

“Given that many standards of identity are now 75 and even 80 years old, we feel the time is right to finalize general principles for when we will consider establishing, revising or revoking a food standard of identity. We want to ensure that as we review these standards of identity, we do so in a fair and consistent manner.

“This effort is part of the FDA’s continuing plans to modernize food standards of identity as part of the agency’s comprehensive, multi-year Nutrition Innovation Strategy. Even as we reopen the comment period on this proposed rule, we are continuing our efforts to revoke or amend certain standards of identity – including those for frozen cherry pie, French dressing and yogurt – especially when the standard of identity is inconsistent with modern manufacturing processes or creates barriers to innovation.”

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reopening the comment period on a 2005 proposed rule to establish a set of general principles to use when considering whether to establish, revise or eliminate a food standard of identity. While the original proposed rule was jointly published with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the FDA is only seeking comments on the agency’s specific aspects of the proposed rule, including 13 general principles for food standards modernization. The FDA and USDA will continue to engage on standard of identity modernization.
  • The FDA is reopening the comment period now due to changes that have occurred in manufacturing, food technology, market trends and nutrition science. Stakeholders and the public have also indicated that new information and data should be solicited, including in the comments related to the public meeting on the Nutrition Innovation Strategy, held in July 2018, and a public meeting on horizontal approaches to food standards of identity modernization, held in September 2019 .

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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