The Regulatory Identity Of Margarine

In the United States, margarine and butter are two foods that are defined by action of the U.S. Congress. Other foods are defined by regulations promulgated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or other regulatory agencies.

Title 21, Section 166 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 166) defines margarine labeling and composition. The labeling provision requires that the word "margarine" or "oleomargarine" appear on the principal display panel in type or size at least as large as any other type or lettering. Other regulations require a listing of ingredients in the product, with the sole exception that proprietary fla-vorant substances need only be identified as "artificial flavor."

The composition provision requires that the product contain at least 80% fat and be made from edible fats, oils, or mixtures thereof whose origins are vegetable, rendered animal carcass fats, or any form of oil from a marine species that has been affirmed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) or listed as a food additive.

The product must also contain one or more of the following:

• Water and/or milk and/or milk products

• Suitable edible protein, including whey, lactose-reduced whey, non-lactose-containing whey components, albumin, casein, caseinate, vegetable proteins, or soy protein isolate, in amounts not greater than that reasonably required to accomplish the desired effect.

• Any mixture of 1 and 2. This must be pasteurized. Any mixture of this may be subjected to the action of harmless bacterial starters.

• Vitamin A of at least 15,000 IU/lb concentration.

Margarine may contain any of these optional ingredients:

• Vitamin D. If added, product must contain no less than 1,500 IU/lb.

• Salt, which typically ranges from about 1.25% to 2.0% by weight.

• Nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners

• Emulsifiers

• Preservatives, including but not limited to the following:

• Sorbic acid, benzoic acid, and their sodium, potassium, and calcium salts, individually 0.1% or in combination, 0.2%

• Calcium disodium EDTA, 0.0075%

• Gallates, BHT, BHA, ascorbyl palmitate, and as-corbyl stearate, individually or in combination, 0.02%

• Stearyl citrate, 0.15%; isopropyl citrate mixture, 0.02%

• Color additives (Beta-carotene or annatto or annatto/ turmeric extracts)

• Flavoring substances

• Acidulants and/or alkalizers

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