Sabra Dipping Co has submitted a citizen’s petition to the FDA asking it to establish a standard of identity (SOI) for hummus based on the traditional ingredients of chickpeas and tahini (sesame paste).
Sabra - which is joint-owned by PepsiCo and Israeli food manufacturer Strauss Group - wants the agency to define hummus as “the semisolid food prepared from mixing cooked, dehydrated, or dried chickpeas and tahini” with one or more of several designated optional ingredients.
Under the SOI, chickpeas would have to be “the predominant ingredient by weight, except water,” and the finished product would have to contain at least 5% by weight tahini, says Sabra, which cites recipes dating back to the 13th century, and the fact that hummus is Arabic for chickpea, to support its claims.
Consumers are being confused by the proliferation of dips and spreads labeled as hummus “that are not based on the traditional ingredients of chickpeas and tahini”, but are instead based on black beans, white beans, lentils, soybeans and other ingredients, claims Sabra.
The 11-page petition - designed to “promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace” - notes that hummus sales have almost doubled since 2009 to top $600m, with 25% of households buying it today compared with 16% in 2009.
Click HERE to read the citizen’s petition.