Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1256204

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Page 83 of 91

Comment Period Reopens FDA signaled that it would revisit modernizing the standards of identity last summer as part of its Nutrition Innovation Strategy. A public hearing was held on September 27, 2019, during which approximately 80 organizations and individuals presented their viewpoints, including the Specialty Food Association. At the hearing, Ron Tanner, SFA's vice president of education, government, and industry relations, said, "SFA members produce and market many foods within the broad categories for which there are mandatory standards. Consequently, revising or modernizing food standards will have significant business consequences for the specialty food industry and for consumer perceptions about the quality of specialty foods. "Human creativity is inspiring foods that taste better and are often more healthy. Technology is contributing as some typical ingredients in products such as mayonnaise are being replaced by vegetable-based alternatives. At the same time, the Association recognizes and appreciates the traditions represented by centuries-old foods. Both respond to consumer interests and demand. Modernized food standards must do the same." SFA also filed written comments reflecting its viewpoint that the standards as written can stymie innovation. After receiving and reviewing 72 comments by its November 2019 deadline, including comments that the agency should re-open the comment period on the 2005 FDA and USDA FSIS proposed rule, the FDA reopened the proposed rule docket in February 2020 with a deadline for comments of April 21. (This has since been extended to July 20.) Principles for Modernizing Food Standards FDA has asked the industry and public to comment on 13 principles (see sidebar) for modernizing food standards. These proposed standards provide a framework for FDA to assess a citizen petition to eliminate, revise, or propose a new Standard of Identity. FDA would consider eliminating a Standard of Identity if it were inconsistent with the first four principles. Any revised or newly proposed standards should meet all 13 principles. SUMMER 13 Principles for Modernizing Food Standards FDA is seeking comment on the following principles for modernizing food standards. 1. Promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers. 2. Describe the basic nature of the food to ensure that consumers are not misled by the name of the food and to meet consumers' expectations of product characteristics and uniformity. 3. Reflect the essential characteristics of the food— or those that define or distinguish a food and describe the distinctive properties of a food that may contribute to achieving the food's basic nature or may reflect the relevant consumer expectations of a food product. 4. Ensure the food does not appear to be of better or greater value than it is. May be used as a vehicle to improve the overall nutritional quality of the food supply. 5. Contain clear and easily understood requirements to facilitate compliance by food manufacturers. 6. Permit maximum flexibility in the technology used to prepare the food, provided the technology does not alter the basic nature or essential characteristics, or adversely affect the nutritional quality or safety, of the food. Provides for any suitable, alternative manufacturing process that accomplishes the desired effect, and describes ingredients as broadly and generically as feasible. 7. Harmonize with international food standards to the extent feasible. 8. Be simple, easy to use, and consistent among all food standards. Includes only those elements necessary to define the basic nature and essential characteristics of the food, without unnecessary details. 9. Allow for variations in the physical attributes of the food. Where necessary to provide for specific variations in the physical attributes of a food within a standard, variations are consolidated into a single standard. 10. Incorporate general requirements that pertain to multiple food standards of a commodity group into general regulatory provisions that address the commodity group whenever possible. 11. Consider other relevant regulations. Any specific requirements for foods intended for further manufacturing are incorporated within the reference standard rather than provided as a separate standard. 12. Provide terms that can be used to name a food and allows terms to be used in any order that is not misleading to consumers. 13. Names of ingredients and functional use categories in a food standard should be consistent with other food standards and relevant regulations, and, when appropriate incorporate current scientific nomenclature.

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