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food or feed grade

2008-08-02 06:13:19.687465+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Hey, any one out there know where to find the FDA or USDA definitions for "food grade" and "feed grade", bonus points for "pharmaceutical grade". Barring those, industry group or other regulatory agency definitions would be handy.

[ related topics: Health Food ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-04 13:57:58.227799+00 by: other_todd

As I understand it the problem is that these terms are defined in terms of the specific product, i.e. various feeds and grains have their own standards, beef has its own, etc. If you have specific goods in mind, I can probably use that to get the facts.

Conversely, you can try to wade through the FDA Food Code and other similar documents, but bring ibuprofen:

http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodcode.html http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/guidance.html

This last one is probably closest to the central source for what you want:


#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-04 14:00:22.768704+00 by: other_todd

Oh, upon reading further down I'm wondering if this is related to vitamins, in which case the USDA is the blind alley and the FDA is the way to go. USDA has no regulation over vitamins or nutritional supplements, and the FDA has a lot of gray areas there which they don't touch either.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-04 14:52:57.287567+00 by: meuon

So "Vitamins" are neither food, drugs or agriculture? No wonder it's such a messed up lucrative business with lots of pseudo-science going on.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-04 15:25:28.000676+00 by: Dan Lyke

Thanks, Todd, that's confirming some of my impressions that there's a legal and definitional gray area that people are deliberately playing in.

Meuon, I've got a large rant burbling around about that, I think the real reason that it's "...such a messed up lucrative business with lots of pseudo-science going on." is that mainstream medicine also has a strong charlatanism component, and much like the anti-drug talks, when people find out that their doctors have been lying to them they're willing to throw a whole lot of sense out the window.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-04 18:54:00.288966+00 by: other_todd

Dietary supplements, which include vitamins, are regulated as drugs in some countries and foods in others, Meuon. In America they're regulated as foods until they are proven to be drugs.

This means, in terms of supplements making specific claims to do things, that:

  1. The FDA generally only manages to intervene in such cases if the supplement can be proved harmful, say if you were slipping arsenic into your herbal remedy.


  1. The FDA says that if you make a claim to do a SPECIFIC THING, like cure arthritis, you have just effectively become a drug for classification purposes and they can now lower the hammer on you.


All this has bearing to the Enzyte case and is why Enzyte ads never promised certain things in certain language. Eventually a case of fraud was made to stick - FDA saying, look, you have crossed the line and made a specific claim - but it was far from the open-and-shut case someone examining their ingredient list with a working brain might believe.

It's also why the CSPI tried a tack of getting the FTC in on it, not the FDA - the FDA is regulated as to what it can regulate, whereas, essentially, the FTC can ban television advertising for a product on much thinner grounds (in this case, the lack of clinical evidence that the product did a damned thing).