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FDA Allows for Filling Sour Cream without Sorbates

Aug 28, 2006

FDA Allows for Filling Sour Cream without Sorbates

On August 18, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a final memorandum, M-a-95, allowing cultured and acidified sour cream with or without sorbates to be filled at temperatures above 45°F, as long as the product is cooled to 45°F or below within seven days of filling. FDA made the change based on challenge study results and other scientific data provided by the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF).

The memorandum supersedes the language on filling and cooling temperatures found in the 2005 Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). The 2005 PMO only allowed for cultured sour cream and acidified sour cream containing potassium sorbate to be filled above 45°F and cooled to 45°F or lower over the seven-day time period.

"We're pleased that the financial support from IDFA members and hard work by members and staff resulted in revising the PMO requirements for sour cream," said Allen Sayler, IDFA senior director of regulatory affairs. "Members now will have added processing and distribution flexibility and cost-containment options."

While FDA did not include proposed changes to cooling for hot- and cold-filled cottage cheese in the new memo, IDFA is hopeful that this change is forthcoming. The final language for this PMO revision is still under review by FDA and will be published, when finalized, in IMS-a-45, Supplement #1.

IDFA is working closely with FDA to revise the current draft language for cottage cheese to be consistent with the results of the challenge studies and scientific literature submitted by MIF. This data demonstrates that cottage cheese products can safely have the processing and distribution flexibility that has been granted to sour cream products.

"While FDA evaluates our suggestions to amend the cottage cheese regulation, the agency has encouraged states not to take regulatory action against any companies that don't meet the current PMO filling and cooling requirements for cottage cheese," said Sayler. "We encourage members to use the information in the final M-a-95 memorandum for sour cream products and to wait for the final memorandum on cottage cheese before altering those processes."

To read the M-a-95 memorandum, click here. For more information or guidance, contact Sayler at or 202-220-3544.

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Posted August 28, 2006

Dairy Delivers