January 12, 2022
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration is revoking the standard of identity for French dressing in response to a citizen petition from the Association for Dressings and Sauces. The petitioners shared information documenting that the standard is outdated. In December 2020, the agency issued a proposed rule and is now finalizing the rule based in part on its conclusion that revoking the standard will allow for greater innovation and more flexibility of products on the market.
Standards of identity impose requirements related to the content and production of certain food products. Other provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act protect consumers from adulteration and misbranding of products. Foods for which standards of identity have been established include, as examples, bread, certain cheeses, fruit jams, certain vegetable and fruit juices, and certain types of chocolate. The standard of identity for French dressing characterized it as containing oil, acidifying and seasoning ingredients, and allowed additional safe and suitable ingredients. However, based on information submitted to the FDA, consumers appear to expect French dressing to have certain characteristics not required by the standard, such as containing tomatoes or tomato-derived ingredients.
The FDA continues to modernize food standards to maintain the basic nature and essential characteristics of products, while allowing industry flexibility for innovation to produce more healthful foods, and meeting consumer expectations. The FDA believes it is important to take a fresh look at existing standards of identity in light of marketing and consumer trends and the latest nutritional science.