Bacon In Candy — Do You Know The Law?

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Cleveland — As we head into 2016, many sources predict bacon will continue to gain favor, citing products ranging from lollipops and chocolate bars to popcorn, ice cream and peanut brittle — all imparting the salty, smoky essence that can only come from bacon.

However, including bacon, or any meat or poultry ingredient in candy has the potential to impact a lot more than just the flavor profile. It could subject both the products and the facilities where they are produced to regulation by the USDA, not the FDA, the agency that traditionally oversees confectionery products.

According to NCA, under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and USDA regulations, a product is considered a “meat food product” or a “poultry product” regulated by USDA if either of the following is true:

  • The product contains 2 percent or more cooked meat or poultry by weight (there are some exceptions to the 2 percent cutoff, but none apply to confectionery products with meat or poultry ingredients).
  • The product is represented as meat or poultry (e.g., the word “bacon” appears in the product name, or there is a prominent bacon vignette on the label).

NCA notes if a product contains less than 2 percent cooked meat and the label states the product is “flavored with bacon,” it is likely not going to be classed as a meat product.

Confectionery that meets either of the meat or poultry product standards falls under the jurisdiction of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). This means the manufacturing facility where it is made must hold a FSIS grant of inspection, which allows for “continuous inspection” by FSIS — meat and poultry processing plants are often subject to daily inspections.

In addition, the plant must operate under a HACCP plan that meets FSIS requirements and comply with other FSIS food safety requirements.

With regards to labeling, products are subject to requirements set by FSIS, which must approve the labels.

Finally, if a plant produces both FDA- and USDA-regulated products, it is subject to joint inspection. CST

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