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What is candy? Comments sought on definition

By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 09-Sep-2010

Related topics: Chocolate and confectionery ingredients, Regulation, Food finance and prices

The Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board has requested comments on a proposed definition of candy for tax purposes, which excludes confectionery that requires refrigeration or contains flour.

There has been some controversy in recent months over the definition of candy that has been implemented in some states, and the definition proposed by the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board reiterates the language that has caused most disagreement.

The definition as it stands is: “A preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients or flavorings in the form of bars, drops, or pieces. ‘Candy’ shall not include any preparation containing flour and shall require no refrigeration.”

The flour rule means that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Three Musketeers, for example, are subject to the tax, while Kit Kat and Milky Way bars are exempt.

With this in mind, the proposed definition provides some clarification on what is meant by ‘flour’.

“The term ‘flour’ means a ground powdery substance made from a grain,” it says. “…However, if the word ‘flour’ on the label is preceded by a modifier used to describe the product the ‘flour’ was made from and the modifier is not a type of grain, then the product is not considered to contain ‘flour’ for purposes of the definition of candy.”

For example, peanut flour or cocoa flour would not count as flour under the definition as they are not made from grain.

The State and Local Advisory Council (SLAC) was tasked with proposing rules and definitions for a number of food products in March 2010. The candy definition is the first food-related definition to be addressed.

The proposed definition can be found online here . Comments must be submitted by September 27 for discussion on October 5. Details of how to comment can be found here .