French Dressing’s lost Identity by the Feds, but what is Alamogordo’s Favorite Dressing?

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Do we have yet another identity crisis on our hands? What is gender? What is the new normal?  What is French Dressing?  The most recent consumable product to lose sight of its individuality and it’s true and it’s true identity is, drumroll please…French dressing.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has revoked the “standard of identity” for French dressing, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The revocation of identity of French Dressing was done in response to a petition from the Association for Dressings and Sauces, a trade association representing salad dressing, mayonnaise, and condiment manufacturers. The petition has been part of an effort since 1998 to get the standard of identity revoked.

I’m not sure that I really knew or was sure what a food’s “standard of identity” is.

The FDA defines it as a detailed description of “what a food product must contain, how it must be proportioned and sometimes how it must be manufactured” in order to carry its name.

Unlike a “French Bordeaux” or “champagne”, the requirements for French dressing have nothing to do with its place of origin (which is funny, given its name is “French Dressing”).

In the case of French dressing, it must contain oil, acidifying, and seasoning ingredients as well as other ingredients. 

However, the petition calls this standard outdated and the association noted that other salad dressings currently on the market with flavors, such as Italian or ranch, and compositions like low-fat contain less than the minimum amount of vegetable oil that is required of French dressing.

On top of that, the ADS called out the fact that the current standards don’t even mention tomato or “tomato-driven” products, which people often expect in French dressings.

In the end, all this ruling does is broaden the possibilities of what manufacturers can label “French dressing.”

Oh, the government overreach? Is this the Governor in Santa Fe? Darn that Biden! Why can’t we keep the government out of my refrigerated salad choices? 

What’s the origins of French Dressing?

In the nineteenth century, French dressing was synonymous with vinaigrette. Starting in the early twentieth century, American recipes for "French dressing" often added other flavorings to the vinaigrette, including Worcestershire sauce, onion juice, ketchup, sugar, and tabasco sauce, but kept the name. By the 1920s, bottled French dressing was being sold as "Milani's 1890 French Dressing", but it is not clear whether it included ketchup at the time.

The modern version is sweet and colored orange-to-red from the use of paprika and tomatoes.  French dressing is generally pale orange and creamy, while "Catalina French dressing" is bright red and less creamy.

Common brands of French dressing in the United States include: Annie's, Bernstein's, Dorothy Lynch, Heinz, Ken's, Kraft, Newman's Own, Marzetti, Wish-Bone

In the United States, French dressing was regulated by federal standards at least until now!

The good ole USA, from 1950 to 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated French dressing to a standard with strict requirements of vegetable oil, vinegar, lemon or lime juice, salt, sugar, tomato paste or puree, and select spices.

On January 12, 2022, the FDA revoked the standard of identity and in the U.S. the ingredients can be at the choice of the manufacturer. Food makers rights win a victory over those darn regulators 77 years in the making. A win against big brother and French Dressing is now free of identity! 

In Canada, the Food and Drug Regulations of the Foods and Drugs Act state that French dressing must be prepared using a combination of vegetable oil and vinegar or lemon juice and the final product must contain at least 35 percent vegetable oil.

What is Alamogordo’s favorite dressing? Do local chefs even care about French Dressing?

The Top Ten Salad Dressings in Alamogordo New Mexico! 

  1. Ranch Dressing
  2. Caesar Dressing
  3. Salsa
  4. Elderberry Vinaigrette
  5. Bleu Cheese Dressing
  6. Balsamic Vinaigrettes
  7. Jalapeño/Hatch Chili Vinaigrette 
  8. Olive Oil
  9. Thousand Island Dressing
  10. Italian Dressing – both Creamy and Oil-Based versions of the dressing

Wow! French Dressing is not even loved evident by not making Alamogordo’s top 10 favorites. Sadly now it has no identity! A sad day for French dressing, indeed!

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