FDA's Next Frontier: Hummus?

Hummus maker Sabra wants some standards, people

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 28, 2014 1:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – Sure, any idiot can throw chickpeas, tahini, and some other deliciousness in a food processor and call it "hummus." But Sabra, which Yahoo notes is owner of 65% of the burgeoning American market for hummus, wants the FDA to make sure that manufacturers are putting actual chickpeas and tahini into the stuff they're marketing as "hummus." "The marketing of a 'hummus' product made from legumes other than chickpeas is akin to the marketing of guacamole made with fruit other than avocados," Sabra complains in a petition asking the FDA to establish a "standard of identity" of what constitutes hummus—complete, the LA Times notes, with an approved list of ingredients.

At issue are dips such as Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus (no chickpeas!) and Trader Joe's Tahini-Free Hummus Dip (you guessed it—no tahini!), which Sabra says "destroy the basic nature and essential characteristics of hummus." And in case you're worried about The Man cracking down on your culinary choices, it's far from rare: Yahoo notes that the FDA has established standards of identity for products ranging from ketchup to peanut butter and white chocolate. Specifically, Sabra wants chickpeas to be "the predominant ingredient" in anything named hummus, and tahini to make up at least 5%. And in a closely related matter, guess what America's hot new crop is (or at least was, last year around this time).

Hummus, which had better have some chickpeas and tahini in it.   (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
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