WASHINGTON – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reopening the comment period on a proposed rule that establishes principles to guide the agency when deciding to revise, eliminate or establish a food’s standard of identity.

The “Food Standards; General Principles and Food Standards Modernization,” is a proposed rule issued jointly by FDA and the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) in 2005. FDA said reopening the comment period would allow the agency to receive new data, information, or additional comments only on FDA-specific aspects of the proposed rule. Standards of identity promote honesty and transparency in the public interest, FDA said.

Federal standards of identity describe what a food product must contain, how it must be manufactured and how it must be proportioned.

“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,” said 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. “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 proposed rule reopening the comment period will be published in the Federal Register on Feb. 21, 2020.