Farm Progress

IDFA applauds final yogurt standard of identity rule

FDA sets maximum pH for yogurt at 4.6.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

April 17, 2023

2 Min Read
Yogurt in dish
Getty Images

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final order modifying its yogurt standard of identity rule. While denying the International Dairy Foods Association’s call for a public hearing on the topic, FDA announced it would set the yogurt standard acidity requirement to a pH of 4.6 or lower.

“Today, FDA issued additional clarity on the final rule that, again, was in line with IDFA’s objections and guidance,” IDFA Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Joseph Scimeca says. “IDFA remains generally pleased with FDA’s decisions and considers the final rule a win for consumers and yogurt makers.”

The yogurt standard of identity rule was originally published in June 2021. IDFA then called for multiple changes.

In December 2022, FDA amended the yogurt SOI by setting the minimum optional fortification of Vitamin D at 10% of the recommended daily value. It also permitted the manufacture of yogurt with milkfat content of between 2.44% and 3.25%.

Fat-containing ingredients like coconut flakes and chocolates are now allowed in lower fat yogurts even if those ingredients increase the total fat content above the nutrient content claim level related to milkfat content.

Additionally, FDA permitted the use of all safe sweeteners, including non-nutritive ones, provided products are clearly labeled. Scimeca says this allows for popular “cup-set” and “fruit on the bottom” yogurts to continue being made and sold while also ensuring yogurt safety.

“The previous iteration of the rule, as written, could have resulted in many of these products being discontinued, along with other styles,” Scimeca says. “Today’s final order is the last piece of the puzzle for the yogurt SOI and ensures predictability in the marketplace for yogurt makers and consumers by keeping popular products on store shelves.”

The final yogurt SOI rule went into effect on April 14. It has a mandatory compliance date of Jan. 1, 2024. Scimeca says IDFA will continue pushing FDA to make reforms that ensure it runs a more efficient, transparent, timely operation that effectively responds to industry and to the changing needs of consumers. The Association is also calling for food standards modernization efforts to continue at a faster pace in closer collaboration is the industry and stakeholders.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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