FDA Deregulates the Cherry Pie

March 18, 2024

The U.S. government has decided it no longer needs a rule specifying how frozen cherry pies must be made.

The Food and Drug Administration published a final rule March 15 in the Federal Register revoking the standards of identity and quality for the freezer-aisle staple.

The FDA found the rule is not needed to keep food companies honest or prevent consumer confusion. Deregulation could pave the way for new products consumers might want, like cherry pies with artificial sweeteners.

Frozen cherry pies were the only fruit pies, chilled or otherwise, for which the U.S. had such standards of identity.

The rules were a relic of an earlier era, having been proposed in 1967 and finalized in 1971. At the time, some frozen food companies used unethical practices, but subsequent food safety and labeling laws have reshaped the industry. Frozen cherry pies will still have to comply with those laws, the FDA said.

The American Bakers Association proposed scrapping the standards back in 2005. Though the FDA took 15 years to act, the idea has been something less than controversial.

While high-profile rulemaking attracts tens of thousands of public comments, this one mustered only about 60, and that apparently was with college students submitting comments as part of an assignment.

The final rule will go into effect April 15. It was published in the Federal Register the day after Pi Day, which is named for the number pi (3.14, as in March 14) but is often used to promote the baked good.


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