One of the underappreciated facts about regulation is that it's often the big companies that want the regulation, in part as a way to protect themselves against competitors. That's the context in which to see the news that, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:
Sabra, the popular U.S. hummus company, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to create a standard for which dips are considered hummus.
Sabra would like hummus to be defined as "the semisolid food prepared from mixing cooked, dehydrated, or dried chickpeas and tahini with one or more optional ingredients," according to a news release Monday.
Sabra's 11-page proposed standards would require products called hummus to be predominantly made of chickpeas, with no more than 5 percent tahini.
It seems to me that maybe this is a situation where consumers can fend for themselves by reading the ingredients on the package, and if Sabra wants to educate consumers with some comparative advertising, no one is stopping them. I suppose one can find in the interstate commerce clause some constitutional authority for the federal government to intervene in hummus that is transported across state lines. But the federal government enforcing hummus recipes is going to strike a lot of people, including me, as just another example of a federal government that has gotten so big it would be funny if we (and our children) weren't the ones paying for it.