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First they came for the hummus

Imagine the horror of mere commoners determining the definition of hummus! Fortunately Sabra Dipping in Chesterfield, Virginia is lobbying the government to save us all. From Reason:

The company, whose Chesterfield, Virginia, plant produces millions of tons of hummus each month, is lobbying the Food and Drug Administration to write new rules governing who can claim to make the stuff. In a "citizen petition," Sabra has asked Washington to declare that only certain dipping sauces qualify as hummus, and only they may be labeled as such.

Specifically, Sabra wants Washington to forbid the use of the word "hummus" unless the dipping sauce is made out of chickpeas and contains at least 5 percent tahini, or ground sesame seeds. Hummus made from black beans? Or navy beans? Or lentils? A fraud! An abomination! A desecration of the noble word itself, and an insult to the memory of Daniel Webster!

By an amazing coincidence, the definition of hummus Sabra wants the government to impose just happens to coincide with the constitution of the hummus that Sabra currently makes. Products that "substitute the traditional chickpea with other legumes," says Sabra, "destroy the basic nature and essential characteristics of hummus." The horror.

To help federal bureaucrats further understand the profound gravity of the issue, Sabra draws their attention to a variety of imposters, such as a certain "red pepper lentil hummus" (made with lentils) and a certain "fat-free original hummus" (made — gasp! — without tahini). By another amazing coincidence, all of those products just happen to be made by companies not named Sabra.

How would we survive without an FDA to save us from the terror that is hummus?


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