US FDA issues yogurt standard

White yogurt packages on a production line in a dairy farm

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it will issue a final rule to modernise the standard of identity for yogurt. The announcement comes more than 20 years after the yogurt industry first petitioned the agency to update the standard of identity and more than 11 years since the agency first issued a proposed rule for a modernised standard of identity for yogurt.

After decades of advocating for updates, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) called the move “a highly anticipated and much needed first step,” and advocated that FDA should more expeditiously and transparently modernise food standards, including the 102 dairy food standards of identity, to allow the industry to continue to offer nutritious, innovative foods that satisfy consumer needs and desires.

IDFA president and CEO Michael Dykes, released the following statement: “IDFA is pleased that the FDA has finally completed the long-awaited, updated standard of identity for yogurt. Many elements of the rule are consistent with IDFA’s comments made to FDA in response to the 2009 proposed rule. We are disappointed, however, that a number of important IDFA recommendations that were sought to align with current industry practices and allow more room for innovation, flexibility and growth within the yogurt category were not fully considered or included in this revised standard.

“Importantly, the FDA has still not progressed on another long-overdue request from the food industry, filed in 2006, that requests a novel, horizontal approach to modernise all food standards developed and regulated by the agency. We are hopeful that such an all-encompassing regulatory modernisation effort may allow for further changes to the yogurt standard in the near future, consistent with the yogurt industry’s interests, along with modernisation of the many other dairy product standards FDA regulates.

“Modernisation of food standards, and streamlining the process to do so, will allow the dairy and the broader food industry to innovate and utilise new, more efficient and sustainable production processes and innovative ingredients that satisfy rapidly changing consumer demands for unique, nutritious, convenient, wholesome and enjoyable food products.

“FDA should endeavor to act more expeditiously and transparently as the agency takes steps to modernise food standards, allowing more open engagement with industry and consumer stakeholders.”

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