WASHINGTON – The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) considers changes made by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the yogurt standard of identity final rule a victory for dairy processors.

In a letter sent to IDFA members, president and chief executive officer Michael Dykes said the FDA’s response to the IDFA’s objections “largely align” with what the IDFA requested.

The FDA announced it is amending the yogurt standard rule in a number of ways, including allowing the use of all safe and suitable sweeteners, as well as non-nutritive varieties.

Dykes noted the key changes made also included setting the optional fortification of Vitamin D at 10% of the Daily Value, permitting the use of fat-containing flavoring ingredients in lower fat yogurt and permitting the production of yogurt with milkfat content less than 3.25% but at least 2.44%.

The CEO also shared that the FDA’s letter to IDFA stated the FDA is issuing a proposed order to “eliminate the minimum titratable acidity option and require that yogurt have a pH of 4.6 or lower measured on the finished product within 24 hours after filling, in accordance with IDFA’s objections.” IDFA has 30 days after receipt of the proposed order to demonstrate that a hearing is justified.

The IDFA’s request to allow the addition of pasteurized cream after culturing/fermentation, Dykes also pointed out, was rejected by the FDA. The FDA will allow dairy processors to make use of the FDA’s temporary marketing permit to test products that add pasteurized cream after culturing/fermentation.

Dykes concluded the letter by saying the FDA’s announcement “translates to major advocacy wins for IDFA members.” He said IDFA will continue to push for reform at the FDA.