American cherry pie manufacturers may soon be able to decide for themselves how many cherries their frozen pies should have, free of burdensome federal regulations.
Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Scott Gottlieb tweeted out praise that his former staff have successfully arranged to deregulate the contents of cherry pies after—no kidding—two years of hard work (and he’s actually understating it, but I’ll get to that)…
So, is this now federal pie anarchy? No. (Unfortunately.) In 1971, the FDA established regulations imposing particular standards for frozen cherry pies. The lengthy regulations (read them here) determine not just how much of the pie must be made of cherries (25 percent by weight) and how many of the cherries may be “blemished,” or have scabs, or be of less than stellar quality (under 15 percent, even though pies are a great place to put blemished fruit to keep it from going to waste), but also establishes complicated rules for determining compliance.
While the FDA has been granted the power by Congress to regulate frozen foods and fruits, including pies, it’s very important to explain that these regulations were only implemented for cherry pies. There are no other similar regulations for other types of fruit pies. And there are no similar regulations for fresh pies to control the number and quality of the cherries in them. Just frozen pies, and only the cherry ones.
And so under Gottlieb and by request of the American Bakers Association (ABA), a trade association and lobbying organization, the FDA began rethinking this rule. The ABA argued that consumers, not the federal government, should decide whether they want to shell out more money for pies with more fruit in them or spend less money on lower-quality pies, if that’s what they can afford.