New Yogurt Ruling Fermenting

Yogurt is having an identity crisis.

The FDA set out to clear up the complex that’s been brewing since their last ruling in 1982 and after a National Yogurt Association citizen’s petition in 2000. Needless to say, things have evolved since then.

The ruling took effect July 12 and will allow for new “standards of identity for low-fat and nonfat yogurt” and update labeling requirements.

What it really means:  Additional products can be classified as yogurt under certain conditions as long as they are made with suitable milk-derived ingredients. The ruling also defines when certain labels can be used.

Positives: It encourages transparent food labeling (if you say you’re yogurt, you better be milk-based), and… ahem… might help out a certain other dairy labeling issue next June.

Downsides: The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) issued a formal objection to the FDA ruling. From their view, the new ruling doesn’t take into account a modernized view of yogurt and will remove some products from shelves. IDFA represents many yogurt manufacturers and offered feedback it says was “largely ignored” by the FDA.

Time will tell if the ruling has time to culture before the dust settles.