USP Food Ingredient Standards

Food production—from "farm to fork"—has become a globalized, complicated process. The food ingredient supply chain for a finished product can incorporate multiple manufacturers and suppliers from around the world. With each exchange, vulnerabilities to the food safety system increase, and as a result governments, retailers, and consumers have intensified their scrutiny of food ingredient quality.

To help manufacturers, suppliers, and regulators safeguard the food supply, USP provides documentary (i.e., written) and physical Reference Standards for determining food ingredient authenticity and purity. These standards help limit the introduction of potential adulterants and other problems at the ingredient level, and serve as a widely acknowledged quality benchmark in the buying and selling of food ingredients in the global marketplace.

USP's Relationship with Food Ingredients

USP began establishing documentary standards for food ingredients in 2006 when it acquired the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC)—a compendium of quality and purity specifications and methods—from the Institute of Medicine. USP's rich history and nearly 200 years of experience setting standards for pharmaceuticals and more recently, dietary supplements, excipients, and more made the organization well suited to undertake the task of updating and expanding FCC. Read More

USP has developed the FCC, instituting a timely, transparent revision process that encourages the participation of industry, governments, and consumer groups and more readily incorporates new technologies and developments in food science. The FCC is now published every two years in print and online formats and is offered as a subscription that includes a main edition and intervening Supplements. (Learn more about the development process and how you can get involved.)

To support and verify the analytical criteria specified in FCC monographs and methods, USP offers a growing line of highly characterized, authenticated physical Reference Standards for food ingredients. Used together, USP documentary standards and Reference Standards offer the food and analytical communities a comprehensive toolkit for demonstrating authenticity and purity of food ingredients. (Learn more about FCC Reference Standards and how you can help establish them.)