When they no longer fit a freshness requirement of a food label.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday approved a new definition of “gourmet” packaged food that it said will allow it to ban some gourmet brands from the marketplace, such as some premium canned and frozen foods.
The definition of what qualifies as a “gastric product” was first approved by the FDA last year and is being used to ban the popular brands of the popular canned and freezer-packed products, as well as the popular frozen and packaged foods.
It’s also being used as an argument by companies against food labels that say their products don’t contain the same ingredients as a product labeled as a grocery store product.
FDA Administrator Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that “further clarifying” the definition of gourmet food will be important in helping consumers make informed choices when shopping for and purchasing food.
Gestures such as “organic,” “natural,” “diverse” and “local” are also no longer acceptable, GottlieB said.
Food companies have been lobbying against the new definition for a while, and the consumer group Consumers Union (CU) has taken up the cause.
Consumer group Consumer Watchdog has filed a petition with the FDA seeking a ruling that would allow gourmet packaging to be banned in grocery stores and other food services.
The consumer group says the new rules would effectively ban “natural” and organic gourmet products from grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses.
CU has also filed a lawsuit against the FDA, which is now considering a request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the new rule from taking effect.
The new definition is being finalized in a draft guidance document, which has not been made public.