WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The Sabra Dipping Co. L.L.C., a joint venture between the Strauss Group and PepsiCo, Inc., is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to create a standard of identity for hummus. The company said the growing popularity of hummus has prompted some companies to introduce products that are labeled as hummus, but lack chickpeas and tahini, the ingredients that make up the traditional spread.
“A food item that is not made of chickpeas … is not hummus,” said Ronen Zohar, chief executive officer of Sabra.
In its filing with the F.D.A., the company said, “For example, some products labeled as ‘hummus’ are made entirely from legumes other than chickpeas. Because these product substitute the traditional chickpea with other legumes — such as black beans, lentils, white beans or edamame — the marketing of these products as ‘hummus’ undermines honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace.”
In the filing, Sabra said marketing hummus without chickpeas is akin to the marketing of guacamole made with fruit other than avocadoes.
“As the popularity of hummus has soared in the United States over the past decade, the name has been applied to items consisting primarily of other ingredients,” said Tulin Tuzel, chief technology officer for Sabra. “From black beans and white beans to lentils, soybeans, and navy beans, everyone wants to call their dip ‘hummus.’ This truly does cause confusion for retailers and consumers in what is still an emerging food category. Twenty-five per cent of American homes purchase hummus regularly and we are pleased to drive this request for standardization. It will benefit the entire category.”To view the complete regulatory filing, please click the following link: Citizen Petition from Sabra Dipping Co. L.L.C.