In the U.S. there are federal requirements that determine what a food product must contain in order to be marketed under a certain name. Mandatory standards protect the consumer by ensuring that a label accurately reflects the product; for example, that mayonnaise is not an imitation spread, or that ice cream is not a similar, but different, frozen product. These standards are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency also issues standards of identity. Standards of Identity
But only some food categories are regulated by the government. Meat, dairy products (milk, cheeses, etc), pasta, peanut butter, even white chocolate, all have definitions. The baked goods category, however, has no regulations and no restrictions. That’s why we see faux products such as Blueberry Donuts with no real blueberries (flavoring comes from imitation gum bits) or banana bread made with imitation flavor and no real bananas. No standard of identity also means we can bake cakes and label them breads.
Is there too much government interference?
Setting federal standards may sound like a lot of over-regulation, but these standards benefit consumers and small businesses by protecting against adulteration and misbranding.
Recently, the honey industry has been in turmoil over this issue. Foreign companies have been selling a sweet golden liquid that has the appearance of honey but is a substandard imitation. The market has been flooded with a misbranded product and domestic honey producers are threatened with unfair competition. Two U.S. senators are working toward the implementation of a national standard of identity for honey.
“New York has some of the nation’s finest honey and hardest working producers,” Senator Gillibrand (NY) said. “To protect consumers and safeguard the integrity of honey products, we must adopt a national standard of identity for honey to prevent unscrupulous importers from flooding the market with misbranded honey products. The lack of regulation is a food safety concern and a bane to our honey producers.”
Home-Based Baking at its Best! No regulation means we must use our own common sense. As small home-based businesses we can handle that, right?