Regulation of the Day 222: Macaroni


According to federal regulations, you may not, in fact, stick a feather in your hat and call it macaroni.

I’m serious. 21 CFR 139, Subpart B, §139.110 defines macaroni as “the class of food each of which is prepared by drying formed units of dough made from semolina, durum flour, farina, flour, or any combination of two or more of these, with water and with or without one or more of the optional ingredients specified in paragraphs (a) (1) to (6), inclusive, of this section.”

If it doesn’t meet that definition, you can’t call it macaroni. Some other anti-feather provisions in federal macaroni policy include:

  • The shape. “Macaroni is the macaroni product the units of which are tube-shaped and more than 0.11 inch but not more than 0.27 inch in diameter.”
  • Spaghetti and Vermicelli are also considered macaroni products. Spaghetti is “tube-shaped or cord-shaped (not tubular) and more than 0.06 inch but not more than 0.11 inch in diameter,” and vermicelli is “cord-shaped (not tubular) and not more than 0.06 inch in diameter.”
  • Egg whites must make up at least 0.5 percent by weight of each noodle, but no more than 2 percent.
  • The protein content of macaroni products is capped at 13 percent.

And Yankee Doodle began to cry.

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