Last week, Fox News affiliates across the country aired a story about the FDA’s deregulation of the Frozen Cherry Pie Standard, prominently featuring the American Bakers Association. While it’s important to promote the baking industry to a nationwide audience, it’s also important to point out: the Frozen Cherry Pie story is not the story.
The deregulation of the frozen cherry pie standard is the low hanging fruit.
Overhauling this specific regulation is a small piece of the pie. Regulations from FDA and even the EPA disproportionately affect the baking industry, and here’s why: Food and beverage is the biggest sector in American manufacturing…and bakery is the largest area in food and beverage.
First: a look at the framework regulation that allowed something like a Frozen Pie Standard to get on the books:
Standards of Identity
A century ago, these standards gave consumers the peace of mind that their food contained the proper ingredients as the food supply was becoming more industrialized. The standards defined bread as this, pie as that, and so on.
The regulation did not anticipate a few things…first is the intense innovation that happens in all industries – even in what some people consider the ancient art of baking.
Second is the change in consumer tastes. It’s important for our industry to keep pace. But by being confined to these antiquated standards, our bakers are actually penalized for trying to create products that draw outside of the lines.
As we start to look at the Frozen Cherry Pie standards, it signals other regulatory oversteps that could manage an update - such as emissions standards from bakeries.
Something that people always tell us is how they remember the smell of the bakery from their childhood. But now, they don’t – and the reason why is because bakeries have to filter what’s coming out of their ovens. Even though the fumes from a bakery aren’t harmful and smell amazing.
The cost of regulation
The cost of these regulations stifle both innovation and also the ability for our members to create more and higher paying jobs. For example, the equipment bakeries are required to install in order to be compliant EPA air standards cost a significant amount of money per plant. That money could – and would – be used on initiatives that would drive growth.
Whether it’s frozen cherry pies or other baked goods – the quality would not change if standards are overhauled. Bakers’ livelihoods depend on the integrity and quality of their products. Consumers are very discerning – even more so than a government agency.
Not a pie in the sky idea
With the overhaul of this specific regulation, we know getting other outdated regulations in both the FDA and EPA isn’t just a pie in the sky idea. We look forward to our continued work with our members to strategically and methodically approach these issues to protect our members’ bottom line.