Yogurt Producers Want Rules Clarified, and Relaxed

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Sep 26, 2018

In a possible precursor of food industry attitudes, yogurt producers are pressing the Food and Drug Administration to clarify—and loosen—food identity regulations about their product.

The International Dairy Foods Association is pressing the FDA to get rid of a rule that says yogurt must have at least 3.25% milkfat. The IDFA says this creates confusion in cases where ingredients like coconut are added to low-fat yogurt, nudging it over that threshold. It is pushing for a rule that simply says regular yogurt should have at least 3 grams of fat per serving, whether from milkfat or other ingredients.

More broadly, the IDFA wants the FDA to clarify rules for yogurt in general. The original rule, passed in 1981, hasn’t been fully enforced, and a proposed update in 2009 was never finalized.

“What's the rule? I mean, make a rule,” an IDFA spokesperson told CBS News.

The food industry has been complaining about outdated or unclear food identity standards for decades. Enforcement for many of those standards slacked off when the FDA started stressing ingredient/nutrient disclosure instead.

Not all industry players want laxer identity standards. Producers of meat and milk, for instance, want to see stronger prohibitions against the use of those terms for plant-based analogues.