(The hill) – The Association for Dressings and Sauces’ decades-long battle to revoke French dressing standards has finally come to an end, with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreeing to deregulate a label that the group says “restricts innovation”.
The FDA decision revokes the so-called “Standard of Identity” on the books since 1950 that dictates the ingredients manufacturers must include to market their product as French dressing.
The group has sought since 1998 to remove the standard for French dressing, arguing that the world of “non-standardized pourable dressing” has seen an explosion of products to meet consumer preferences and that French dressing “no longer serves as a benchmark for the other dressings due to the wide variation in composition to meet the interests of consumers.
In its final rule released Wednesday, the FDA determined that “the standard of identity for French dressing no longer promotes honesty and fairness in the interests of consumers” while removing the term would give manufacturers ” greater flexibility”.
The rule said the proposal only received 20 comments, including some that “appeared to have been submitted as part of a college course.”
“One comment said the standard of identity for French dressing was ‘unnecessary red tape,'” the FDA noted.
The 1950 definition of French vinaigrette was not particularly precise, even noting that tomato-based ingredients were “allowed, but not required”. The low-fat varieties, however, did not meet the standard that 35 percent of the product by weight must be vegetable oil.
The cost-benefit analysis of the rule did not make a financial assessment, but concluded that the rule would provide manufacturers “additional flexibility and the ability to innovate regarding French dressing products”.
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