In the vast pantheon of salad dressings, it’s easy to forget about French dressing – a sticky, sweet, carrot-colored mix overshadowed by America’s undisputed heavyweight dressing champion Ranch.
However, the federal government has shown great interest in the humble clothing, which has carefully regulated the ingredients in it since 1950 and has revised the rules at least five times since then.
Now the government wants to get out of the French dressing business.
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would revoke its definition and identity standard for French dressings and, at the request of an industry group, the Association for Dressings & Sauces, effectively clear the government-approved list of ingredients.
“The standard does not appear to be necessary to ensure that the product meets consumer expectations and the FDA has tentatively concluded that it is no longer necessary to promote honesty and fairness in the interests of consumers may limit flexibility for innovation, “said the agency.
Marion Nestle, professor emeritus of nutrition, food science, and public health at New York University, gave a slightly less sunny overview of what motivates the industry to seek change.
“They want to do it because they want less fat than what’s on the identity standard, and they want to put more junk in it,” she said. “And their argument is that everyone knows what these things are and everyone knows what they are buying.”
Professor Nestle said she laughed when she read the agency’s proposal and another announced the day before that it would revoke the definition and standards of identity and quality for frozen cherry pie.
“Is this how our government spends its time?” She said. “I think there are a lot of things that are more important than you could do.”
The FDA announced that it is reassessing its oversight of French dressings as part of its nutritional innovation strategy, which aims to “modernize food standards to preserve the basic nature and nutritional integrity of products while allowing industry flexibility to innovate,” to make healthier foods. ”
The agency added that it was “important to reconsider existing identity standards in light of marketing trends and the latest nutritional science”.
French dressing is one of hundreds of foods – including mayonnaise, bread, ketchup, and milk chocolate – whose makeup the agency controls. It has been argued that many of the rules are over 75 years old and no longer needed.
The lengthy and legal regulations for French dressings require that they contain vegetable oil and an acid like vinegar or lemon or lime juice. It also lists other ingredients that are acceptable but not required, such as salt, spices, and tomato paste.
Despite its name, French clothing isn’t French at all, according to Paul Freedman, professor of history at Yale and author of American Cuisine: And How It Got This Way.
The dressing was originally a simple oil and vinegar vinaigrette, but it gradually turned into the sticky, sweet, tomato-inflected dressing that we recognize today, Professor Freedman said.
Unlike the French, who tend to ban sugar for dessert, the dressing reflects Americans’ love for anything sugary, from honey mustard to bacon pickled in maple syrup, he said.
However, it was barely rated in a 2017 study by the Association for Dressings & Sauces in which 40 percent of Americans named the ranch their favorite dressing. The closest competitor, the Italian, was 10 percent.
However, Professor Freedman said he is among those who consider French clothing a treat.
“Actually, I have a certain weakness for it,” he said.
Recognition…Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press
The FDA said consumers expected the French dressing to contain tomatoes or “tomato-derived ingredients” and “will have a distinctive red or red-orange color.”
The dressing also tends to have a sweet taste, the agency said.
Some formulations, such as Such as low-fat French dressing, but contain less than the required amount of vegetable oil (35 percent by weight) and there is no evidence that consumers have been misled or misled into purchasing these varieties, according to the FDA.
The Association for Dressings & Sauces, which on Saturday did not respond to news of the proposed change, filed a petition with the FDA arguing that French dressings should be exempted from regulation.
According to the agency, Italian and ranch dressings, as well as low-fat, “light”, and fat-free formulations are not subject to the same standards.
Clare Gordon Bettencourt, Ph.D. The food history contestant at the University of California at Irvine said she didn’t expect consumers to even notice the change. This is part of the F.DA.’s efforts to eliminate outliers in food regulation.
“I don’t know this is going to change the shopping experience exponentially as so few consumers first know about the standards and use them as a method of evaluating food choices,” she said.
Professor Nestle said the change “looks like tremendous fuss about an extremely small portion of the American diet”.
“Why everyone can’t just throw some oil and vinegar together and make their own salad dressing is a mystery to me,” she said. “But that doesn’t matter.”