USA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reopening the comment period on a 2005 proposed rule to establish a set of general principles for food standards of identity modernization.

The proposed rule outlines the guidelines that the agency will be using when considering whether to establish, revise or eliminate a food standard of identity.

Food standards of identity are requirements related to the content and production of certain food products such as bread, jam, juices and chocolate.

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.

With the development of new types of food products and the most recent nutritional science, the FDA noted that it is taking a fresh look at existing standards of identity as part of its Nutrition Innovation Strategy.

Claudine Kavanaugh, Director of the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition says that “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,”

FDA said that the Nutrition Innovation Strategy is designed to empower consumers by providing information to make healthy food choices and encourage industry innovation toward the production of healthier foods.

The FDA is now reopening the comment period to receive new data, information, or further comments only on the FDA-specific aspects of the 2005 proposed rule, including 13 general principles for food standards modernization.

According to the agency, the goals of food standards modernization are to protect consumers against economic adulteration; maintain the basic nature, essential characteristics and nutritional integrity of food; and promote industry innovation by giving manufacturers the flexibility to produce healthier foods.

“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,” Claudine adds.