IICA Files Comments on Modernizing Ice Cream Standards
The International Ice Cream Association (IICA) last week filed comments with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supporting the association's 2003 petition to update and improve the federal Standards of Identity governing the manufacture of ice cream and other frozen desserts. FDA had published a call for comments on the petition in September.
Several other organizations, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Fonterra Inc., also filed comments supporting the IICA petition.
IICA commended the agency for its action on the petition, which if adopted, would give ice cream manufacturers the flexibility to use technologies and ingredients that weren't available when the standards were written nearly 30 years ago.
"The vast array of safe and suitable ingredients have different market prices throughout the year and are often substitutable," IICA wrote in its supporting comments. "Formulators need to have the ability to make reasonable adjustments to their formulas within certain ranges in order to maximize quality while keeping the price attractive to consumers."
As Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, noted last fall in News Update, "The ice cream industry has had their collective hands tied by decades-old restrictions that thwart innovation. Updating the standards will allow processors to create new and better choices for American consumers."
IICA submitted the petition to FDA in April 2003, after a three-year collaborative process with industry researchers to create the request.
The largest change requested is to remove an outdated restriction on how manufacturers add dairy ingredients to ice cream, and to instead let the manufacturer decide on the best mix of milk ingredients. In particular, this change would allow greater flexibility in using high-quality, whey and milk proteins — which are constituents of milk — that are now available on the market.
"It's a matter of product quality. Whey proteins offer superior properties in preventing ice crystals, freezing and whipping," Frye noted. "This change would allow the ice cream industry to utilize more whey, which the dairy industry is increasingly recognizing as an exceptional ingredient for its products.
"In fact, there are campaigns underway that are funded by dairy farmers promoting the use of whey and whey proteins in innovative ways, and the restrictions in the federal standards are preventing that from occurring in the ice cream industry."
To read the full IICA comments, click here. (.pdf)
# # #
Posted January 3, 2006