WASHINGTON — The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended a final standard of identity rule for yogurt after agreeing on certain issues brought up in a petition from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), but the agency denied requests for a hearing made in petitions from the IDFA and Chobani, Inc.
The FDA ruling was published in the Dec. 15 issue of the Federal Register.
The FDA originally ruled vitamin D must make up at least 25% of the Daily Value per Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACC) in yogurt. The IDFA requested the minimum level be lowered to 10%. The FDA agreed and lowered the minimum level to 10%.
The FDA, in agreeing with the IDFA, amended the final rule to permit fat-containing flavoring ingredients in non-fat yogurt, low-fat yogurt and reduced-fat yogurt. The FDA also agreed with the IDFA that non-nutritive sweeteners may be used in yogurt products that do not bear a nutrient content claim.
The IDFA in its petition protested other requirements in the final rule: that yogurt has either a titratable acidity of not less than 0.7% or a pH of 4.6 or lower prior to the addition of bulky flavoring ingredients, that adding pasteurized cream after culturing was prohibited, and that yogurt must contain not less than 3.25% milkfat (IDFA requested a change to not less than 3%). The FDA denied these requests.
Chobani in its petition requested that ultrafiltered milk may be used as a dairy ingredient in yogurt. The FDA denied the request and ultrafiltered milk still may not be used in yogurt.
The final rule becomes effective Jan. 17, 2023. The compliance date is Jan. 1, 2024. Objections to the amendments must be made before the end of the day on Jan. 17. Objections may be made at www.regulations.gov or mailed to Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville MD 20852. All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2000-P-0126.
The FDA on June 11, 2011, published the final rule, which amended the standard of identity for yogurt and revoked the definitions and standards of identity for low-fat yogurt and non-fat yogurt. The final rule expanded the allowable ingredients in yogurt, including sweeteners such as agave, and reconstituted forms of dairy ingredients. It established a minimum amount of live and active cultures that yogurt must contain to bear an optional labeling statement, “contains live and active cultures.”
After receiving the two petitions, the FDA published a notice in the March 23, 2022, Federal Register saying certain provisions of the final rule had been stayed.