WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (PRNewswire) — Sabra Dipping Company  has filed a citizen's petition with the FDA to establish a standard of identity in the United States for hummus under Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
According to the petition, hummus must be comprised (by weight, besides water) predominately of chickpeas, and must be no less than 5% tahini. Sabra defines hummus as, "the semisolid food prepared from mixing cooked, dehydrated, or dried chickpeas and tahini with one or more optional ingredients," some of which are specified in the 11-page petition.
"A food item that is not made of chickpeas… is not hummus," said Ronen Zohar, Sabra's CEO. "It is a testament to the popularity of hummus that companies are interested in labeling a variety of dips and spreads as 'hummus.' As the category leader, we have introduced hummus to the market; we are driving continued adoption rates and we do see it as our responsibility to support the growing community of hummus lovers by protecting the purity of hummus in the marketplace."
The FDA has established standards of identity for a range of categories popular in the American market, including peanut butter, ketchup, mayonnaise, and cream cheese.
In addition to alleviating confusion for consumers and preserving the basic nature of the food, the proposed standard would improve the overall quality of hummus in the US food supply by regulating the conditions of its formulation. The proposed standards are consistent with existing standards in place in other regions of the world including the European Union, Israel and Jordan.
"As the popularity of hummus has soared in the United States over the past decade, the name has been applied to items consisting primarily of other ingredients," said Tulin Tuzel, Chief Technology Officer. "From black beans and white beans to lentils, soybeans, and navy beans, everyone wants to call their dip 'hummus.' This truly does cause confusion for retailers and consumers in what is still an emerging food category. Twenty five percent of American homes purchase hummus regularly and we are pleased to drive this request for standardization. It will benefit the entire category."
About Sabra Dipping Company, LLC
Sabra Dipping Company, LLC is a leader in the refrigerated dips and spreads category and producer of America's top-selling hummus. Sabra's award-winning hummus, available in more than a dozen flavors, and a wide range of authentic, healthy and vegetarian dips and spreads, including salsa, guacamole, and Greek yogurt vegetable dip, can be found nationwide in club stores, supermarkets, specialty retailers and through food service. Sabra operates a silver LEED certified factory in Virginia, and has received an A-Classification from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) audit board for food safety for its California Salsa plant every year since 2011. Find Sabra at www.sabra.com , www.facebook.com/sabra  and @Sabra on twitter. Sabra Dipping Company was formed as a U.S./Canadian joint venture between Strauss Group and PepsiCo.
Sabra, a major US hummus manufacturer, filed an 11-page petition to define hummus by its ingredients and the percentage of those elements in the final product. The FDA has established standards of identity for a range of categories popular in the American market.