FDA issues stay in yogurt rule; IDFA upset
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said in a Federal Register notice it is providing a “stay of the effectiveness of certain provisions” of a final rule on yogurt published in the June 11, 2021, Federal Register.
The final rule amended the definition and standard of identity for yogurt and revoked the definitions and standards of identity for lowfat yogurt and nonfat yogurt. FDA is publishing this notification in response to objections timely filed in accordance with regulatory requirements.
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International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Michael Dykes said in a news release that the dairy processors group had “forcefully objected” to the rule but was disappointed that the stay was the result.
“Yogurt makers have been waiting 40 years for the FDA to update and modernize the yogurt standard of identity,” Dykes said. “Today, the FDA issued a notice telling us to keep waiting — and threw in a whole lot of uncertainty, to boot.”
Dykes noted that FDA had asked for a hearing, but “today, after eight months of waiting, FDA issued a notice staying certain provisions of the yogurt standard of identity final rule. IDFA was able to leverage unique formal rulemaking procedures available to the dairy industry to object and, ultimately, prompt a stay of certain provisions that are detrimental to our industry. Without this lever, an impractical final rule would have gone into effect, damaging yogurt makers, throwing retail establishments into confusion, and limiting choice for consumers. While a stay is helpful at this stage, IDFA’s efforts to reform the yogurt SOI will continue into an inexplicable fifth decade.
“IDFA remains deeply disappointed in the FDA process that led to the yogurt SOI [standard of identity] final rule. After 40 years since FDA first issued standards for yogurt, IDFA and our yogurt members are back to where we started several decades ago, beseeching the FDA to work with yogurt makers to make commonsense updates to a category that has been waiting more than four decades for modernization. Without standards that have been modernized, manufacturers are unable to meet consumer demands for innovative and nutritious yogurt products. With many significant provisions stayed, IDFA will continue to work on the yogurt SOI with an aim to ensure FDA continues to move forward in responding appropriately to IDFA’s objections in a timely manner.”
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