January 2, 2002

The USDA's Elimination of the 'Pizza Standard'

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Definitions and Standards of Identity or Composition: Elimination of the Pizza Standard

Stated Purpose:

"To remove the standards of identity for 'pizza with meat' and 'pizza with sausage' … because these standards may be inhibiting manufacturers of federally inspected frozen pizzas from producing and marketing the new styles of pizzas that today's consumers demand."

Summary of RSP Comment:

In 1970 the United States Department of Agriculture Food Inspection Service (FSIS) instituted requirements for the composition of pizzas that contain some form of meat. FSIS stated that a meat pizza must be a bread based product with tomato sauce, cheese and meat toppings containing cooked meat made from not less that 15 percent of raw meat. A sausage pizza also had to have a bread base, contain tomato sauce and cheese and have a sausage topping of not less that 12 percent of cooked sausage or 10 percent of a dry sausage. FSIS instituted such standards in order to protect the consumer from "economic deception."

In response to a petition from the National Frozen Pizza Institute, the FSIS has decided to remove the meat and sausage pizza standards of identity and permit such pizzas to reduce their meat content to 2 percent cooked or 3 percent raw, the general level that all products designated as "meat products" must meet.