We want to protect consumers from product misbranding and adulteration and so the Code of Federal Regulations, which govern 'standards of identity', was born in 1938. 

Yet what laws never account for is "innovation" and the modern environmental movement, with its food identity fetish, exploits that bureaucracy - for everything except organic food, anyway. Organic lobbyists control a sub-committee that controls the dozens of synthetic ingredients that can be allowed into organic food and keep their $100 billion business going and will sue to keep the USDA from being involved.

Writing in US News  &  World Report, George Mason University scholar Sherzod Abdukadirov discusses some obvious examples - it can't be called mayonnaise unless it has eggs, so if a healthy vegan alternative equivalent to eggs is available, it can't be mayonnaise.  Vegan mayonnaise can't be called mayonnaise even if it tastes just like mayonnaise. This pits one section of the environmental movement against the other and it's positively French in its bizarre 'only champagne from Champagne is real champagne' even if it uses the same grapes and process.

Everyone is worried about obesity but we can't make more sustainable, environmentally-friendly and low-calorie options available for many foods because environmentalists, and the Federal regulators they lobby, will declare those products misleading and unnatural.

Let the Palate Decide by Sherzod Abdukadirov, US News  &  World Report. Image credit: Authority Nutrition.