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Standards of identity for food are the mandatory, federally set requirements that determine what a food product must contain to be marketed under a certain name in interstate commerce. Mandatory standards (which differ from voluntary grades and standards applied to agricultural commodities) protect the consumer by ensuring a label accurately reflects what is inside (for example, that mayonnaise is not an imitation spread, or that ice cream is not a similar, but different, frozen dessert).
They are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency also issues standards of identity.
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