Scott Gottlieb Lies About FDA Frozen Cherry Pie Regulations

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images Former Trump FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb boasted about deregulating frozen cherry pies in a tweet t...

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Former Trump FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb boasted about deregulating frozen cherry pies in a tweet that was chock full of more lies than a cherry pie has cherries… for now.

If you’re like me, you probably had no idea that frozen cherry pie is subjected to detailed FDA standards until today. The actual regulations are comically arcane, but for our purposes, the important parts are that a frozen cherry pie must contain at least 25 percent cherries by weight, and “Not more than 15 percent by count of the cherries in the pie are blemished with scab, hail injury, discoloration, scar tissue, or other abnormality.”

Whether those regulations are a good idea or not is a separate matter, but I think that all sounds very reasonable. Adam Campbell-Schmitt of Food and Wine argues that “lifting the blemished cherry limit actually feels like it’s right in line with the current movement to embrace and utilize so-called ‘ugly produce’ in an effort to fight food waste.”

Whatever, dude. Blemishes on fruit can also indicate the manufacturer wants to make use of all the stuff they drop on the floor and step on, which is why 15 percent sound maybe even a little bit high. Boil that shit and make jam.

In fact, now I’m deeply disturbed that other pies are allowed to contain an ounce of 100 percent stepped-on fruit per pie, if I read these reports about cherry pie correctly. I want MORE extremely reasonable rules like you can’t call something “Apple Pie” and then load it with, like, pineapple or whatever that you fished out of the garbage.

But if you’re going to brag about gutting a perfectly reasonable regulation, don’t do it the way Scott Gottlieb did.

On Thursday, Gottlieb wrote on Twitter “BREAKING. NEW PROPOSED RULE: Thanks to the hard work of my FDA team in 2018, the Federal government will no longer be regulating the contents of frozen cherry pie. The American people are free add extra fruit, sugar, and make the crust especially thick,” and linked to the unpublished 15 PAGE proposed rule change.

Almost nothing about Gottlieb’s tweet is true.

First of all, there is nothing in the current rule that prevents the addition of extra cherries, as the 25 percent is a minimum, not a maximum. Mrs. Smith literally markets a frozen cherry pie that boasts “25% more cherries,” although you have to check the side panel to see more than what.

Gottlieb skirts that by artfully touting “extra fruit,” meaning he apparently thinks that people want cherry pies that contain fruits other than cherries, but without knowing there are non-cherries in the pie.

And since the rule only governs manufacturers of frozen cherry pies, “the American people” can add whatever the frick they want to it after they buy it.

The current rule also does not limit the amount of sugar in the pies at all, and in fact, strictly prohibits the use of artificial sweeteners.

Finally, the current rule is also completely silent on the issue of crust thickness, although you can extrapolate that a cherry pie can’t have a crust thicker than 75% of the pie’s total weight. That’s not a crust, that’s a loaf of cherry bread.

And thank the lord for Reuters’ David Shepardson, who called out perhaps the most important lie in Gottlieb’s torte of mendacity:

Unfortunately, the other reactions to Gottlieb’s announcement don’t portend the sort of uprising it would take to thwart the rule change. The Daily Dot’s David Covucci succinctly summed up the consequences:

Seriously, why isn’t the story that the American Bakers Association is explicitly asking the government to let it garbage up cherry pies? And what other industries are lobbying to jack up the acceptable level of insect parts?

So if President-elect Joe Biden is listening, Americans like me would actually like more pies to contain at least 25% of the thing that they’re called, maybe even if they’re not frozen, and we’re open to some other way to judge the quality of the filling.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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Newsrust: Scott Gottlieb Lies About FDA Frozen Cherry Pie Regulations
Scott Gottlieb Lies About FDA Frozen Cherry Pie Regulations
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