At industry behest, FDA drops official definitions for cherry pie and French dressing

The Food and Drug Administration has official, legal definitions for hundreds of foodstuffs. These standards of identity require mayonnaise to contain vinegar and eggs, for instance, and yogurt to be made with milk. As we’ve written, their purpose is to state how far manufacturers are allowed to go in monkeying with product formulations before they start ripping off the public. Which is why some observers are irked by last week’s actions to revoke the definitions of two supermarket staples at the behest of industry associations. Why on earth would Big Dressing ask FDA to drop a requirement that French dressing contain 35 percent vegetable oil, or Big Bake take issue with the fact that frozen cherry pie must be 25 percent cherries? “They want to put more junk in it,” Marion Nestle bluntly told The New York Times.

The Counter Stories by our editors.