IDFA Submits Comments to FDA: Dairy Needs Standards Modernization Now
On Tuesday, Nov. 12th, IDFA submitted its comments to the FDA in support of horizontal approaches to standards modernization. Dairy products represent a third of the 280 federal food standards of identity, and these standards are significantly outdated and stand in the way of using new technologies, ingredients, and novel processes for dairy foods innovation.
IDFA says a new approach is needed to allow dairy processors greater flexibility to create new nutritious and healthful products that meet consumer demands. Therefore, IDFA urges the FDA to consider the 2006 Citizen Petition submitted by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and 10 other food trade associations, including IDFA.
The GMA petition urged FDA to open existing standards for milk and cheese for new methods of production, especially for ultra-filtered milk and cheese. The six principles contained in the petition would accommodate many of the changes that the dairy and food industry are seeking in standards modernization such as:
- Addition of ingredients intended solely for technical, nondistinctive effects, such as emulsifiers, stabilizers, preservatives or the addition of mold inhibitors to all types of cheese;
- Use of safe and suitable flavors and flavor enhancers in foods; use of safe and suitable ingredients such as salt substitutes for lower sodium cheese, or non-nutritive sweeteners to make lower sugar-flavored milk and yogurts;
- Use of advanced technologies to produce ingredients the finished food retains the essential characteristics of the standardized product, i.e. use of ultrafiltered and microfiltered milk in cheese making and other dairy products;
- Use of the “alternate make” procedures allowed in cheese to apply for all foods that would permit technologies other than heat treatment or “pasteurization” like high-pressure processing used to prevent spoilage of milk products;
- Changes to product’s basic shape; and
- Improvements in nutritional properties that do not rise to the level of a defined nutrient content claim, such as being able to increase protein by grams rather than a minimum of 10% more than the daily value.