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White Chocolate FDA Standard

White Chocolate FDA Standard

Food manufacturers have had an uphill battle with the FDA to come up with a ruling for a standard of identity for white chocolate. The Chocolate Manufacturers Association has petitioned the FDA since 1993. Finally, it has received a response.

Under FDA’s final ruling, the term “white chocolate” is the common or usual name of products made from cacao fat (i.e., cocoa butter), milk solids, nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners, and other safe and suitable ingredients, but containing no nonfat cacao solids. The standard for white chocolate will promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers and, to the extent practicable, will achieve consistency with existing international standards of identity for white chocolate.

The decision is the result of a 1993 petition filed by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, along with subsequent meetings by the CMA with the FDA as recently as this summer. These sessions dealt with a standard of identity to help eliminate consumer confusion created by the use of various terms for white chocolate-type confections and potential economic fraud through the substitution of lesser-quality ingredients.

The new standard establishes that a product labeled and marketed as white chocolate must contain:

  • At least 20 percent cocoa fat
  • 14 percent milk solids
  • 3.5 percent milk fat
  • Not more than 55 percent sugar (or other nutritive carbohydrate sweetener)

“We are very pleased with and encouraged by the FDA’s final rule on white chocolate,” said CMA President Larry Graham. “The chocolate industry has worked very hard for many years to establish a standard that assures consumer confectionery products labeled white chocolate meet the high standards the Food and Drug Administration requires.”

Prior to 1993, white chocolate-type confections were labeled with the words “cocoa butter confectionery” or other similar term not using the word “chocolate.” After the 1993 petition was filed, manufacturers were required to apply for temporary marketing permits to use the designation “white chocolate.” The TMPs created a burden for both manufacturers and the FDA.

Under the Department of Health and Services, the FDR displayed 21 CFR Part 163 [Docket Nos. 86P-0297 and 93P-0091] on 10 March 2002 and published the final ruling on 10 April 2002.


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