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Q&A: FDA Standard of Identity for Ice Cream

Registrar Corp often receives questions regarding U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.  This week, we’re answering a question about FDA requirements for calling a product “ice cream.”

Question: Why does the FDA allow Ice Cream that has no cream in it, contains thickeners, emulsifiers and artificial processed ingredients to be called “Ice Cream”?  Margarine cannot be called butter, so how does fake ice cream get to be called “Ice Cream”?

Answer: FDA has “standards of identity” for certain food products.   Standards of identity set requirements for how a product must be manufactured and identify ingredients that a product can and cannot contain in order to be marketed under a certain name.

FDA has a standard of identity for ice cream (21 CFR 135.110).   According to the standard, cream is an optional dairy ingredient, so a product is not required to contain cream to be called ice cream.  The standard also allows for artificial ingredients to be used and may require that the name of the product reflect their presence.  Take vanilla, for example.  If an ice cream product contains all-natural vanilla, the name of the product can include being called “vanilla” on the label.  If the product contains both natural and artificial vanilla and the natural flavor is predominating, the product can be called “vanilla flavored.”  If the artificial flavor is predominating or is the only flavor present, the product must be called “artificial vanilla” or “artificially flavored vanilla.”

Not all food products have a standard of identity, but those that do include milk, cream, yogurt, sherbet, margarine, different types of cheeses and breads, and more.  Registrar Corp can help food manufacturers determine whether or not a specific product meets an FDA standard of identity, as well as review food labels for FDA compliance.  For assistance, contact Registrar Corp at +1-757-224-0177 or speak with a Regulatory Advisor 24-hours a day at www.registrarcorp.com/livehelp.





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