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CPG Sec 578.100 Starches - Common or Usual Names October 1980

Issued by:
Guidance Issuing Office
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Office of Regulatory Affairs


No standards of identity have been promulgated for food starches.

The United States Pharmacopeia XVII contains a monograph on starch which includes this definition: "Starch consists of the granules separated from the mature grain of Zea Mays, Linne (Fam. Gramineae)". This is followed by a description of the starch granules, and by purity specifications.

In the past the Food and Drug Administration has taken the position that starch meeting the U.S.P. specification is considered acceptable for food use.

Modified food starches are subject to the Food Additives Amendment and regulations have been promulgated for "food starch - modified."


In the absence of a standard of identity, starch meeting the specification of the United States Pharmacopeia is acceptable for food use.

For purposes of labeling in accordance with Section 403(i) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and Section 4(a)(1) of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, the term "starch" is considered the common or usual name for starch made from corn; alternatively, the name "cornstarch" may be used.

Starches from other sources should be designated by some non-misleading term that indicates the source of such starch, for example, "potato starch," "wheat starch," or "tapioca starch."

The term "arrowroot" is the common or usual name for starch obtained from Maranta arundinacea L.

If the word arrowroot is used to designate similar starches obtained from other plant sources it should be qualified by some term indicating the source.

A regulation has been promulgated to prescribe safe conditions of use for "food starch-modified" (21 CFR 172.892). This regulation requires that the label shall bear the name of the additive "food starch-modified." This name should be used to designate this additive on labels of fabricated foods in which it is used as an ingredient.

Issued: 10/1/80

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