Vol. 1, Issue 5, June 10, 2003
Lard Not A "Natural Flavor," Says FDA
A special committee at the Food and Drug Administration has issued its final report rejecting the petition of Carolina Agronomics Inc. to expand the definition of "natural flavoring."
The decision marks the end of an eight-year struggle on the part of the conglomerate to list lard as a natural flavoring. For much of this time, participants were prevented from discussing the case due to a gag order issued by a federal judge.
"Lard is a perfectly natural product," said a company spokesperson in previously filed statements. "It is wholesome and easily digestible, and it imparts a subtle flavoring to a wide variety of foods. We believe that the re-labeling will more accurately reflect the original intentions of America's founding fathers."
The FDA rejected this argument, noting that the intentions of the founding fathers do not explicitly or implicitly have anything to do with the subject matter of the case. It also noted that the traditional industry standard for use of natural or artificial flavorings is no more than two or three percent of the product by weight, whereas many foodstuffs produced by Carolina Agronomics and its subsidiaries contain up to fifty percent lard.
"There's a reason why their products continue to dominate the market," noted Wharton University nutritionist Abel Franks. "Carolina Agronomics is the single largest supplier of pre-prepared foods in the country, and people like the way lard tastes, especially if they don't know they're eating it."
The FDA's ruling demands public disclosure of lard use in all Carolina Agronomics products, effective immediately, which has resulted in far-reaching and awkward unforeseen political consequences.
"Apparently, Carolina Agronomics - which is primarily known for its hog farms - quietly acquired the Little Debutante line of snack foods in 1997," said an administration official, John Flores, who asked not to be named in this article. "Little Debutante makes the Freedom Food Care Packages that the U.S. government has been airlifting into Iraq and Afghanistan by the ton. We had no idea that the 'natural flavoring' in these products came from animal sources strictly prohibited by Islamic law."
"Think the 'Arab Street' is angry at us now? Wait until they find out that thousands of people have been eating care packages that are 35% rendered pork fat by weight," Franks said. The Arab Street had no comment, as we could not find it on Mapquest.