IDFA filed comments last Friday with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), urging the agency to move forward with finalizing the 2009 proposed rule to update the existing federal standards of identity for yogurt. The existing, separate standards for nonfat yogurt, lowfat yogurt, and yogurt need revisions, IDFA said, so they will align with current federal labeling standards, reflect current consumer demands and market trends, and accommodate the latest yogurt production techniques and ingredients.
In the comments, IDFA reiterated many of the suggestions it shared with FDA in 2009, when the proposed rule was released, and highlighted advances in the dairy and yogurt sectors since that time. IDFA also proposed new ideas that would make FDA’s final standards for yogurt more practical for both consumers and yogurt makers.
The comments requested five specific changes:
- Eliminate the requirement for yogurt to contain a minimum of 3.25% milkfat before bulky flavoring ingredients are added;
- Establish a compliance timeline for the final yogurt standards of identity rule that would align with the implementation dates for the Nutrition Facts panel updates;
- Expand the list of allowed basic dairy ingredients to include ultrafiltered milk and resulting products, as well as skim milk powder;
- Finalize proposed provisions that are currently stayed, such as the provision to allow safe and suitable optional dairy ingredients; and
- Clarify that mildly-heated yogurt that still contains high levels of live and active cultures would not be required to be labeled as “heat-treated after culturing.”
Although the comment period closed some time ago, new developments have occurred that are relevant to FDA’s decision-making process, and IDFA believes the agency has the discretion to accept comments after the deadline.
Read the new comments and those submitted in 2009 here.
For additional information, contact John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, at email@example.com.