Sabra made a major play for hummus in the U.S. market last summer when they became the official dip of the N.F.L. Now they’re looking to sideline the competition (sorry). Sabra Dipping Co. has apparently petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to adopt a standard for determining what does and does not qualify as hummus, JTA reports.
It might not be such a bad thing, though. As Joan Nathan pointed out in 2011, the only places selling hummus hummus in the United States in the 1970s and 80s were Middle Eastern ethnic stores like Sahadi’s in Brooklyn. Now hummus—or at least a distinctly Americanized version of it—seems to be everywhere.
“In 1985 our hummus was so popular that we put a deli in the store,” Charles Sahadi, the store’s owner, told Nathan. “Today you go to a specialty food store and you see seven varieties of Americanized hummus: sun-dried, basil, pepper, black bean … I don’t know what [it is], but it isn’t hummus.”
While I’m not sure whether Sahadi would consider Sabra—which offers everything from basil pesto hummus to jalapeno hummus—the real thing, the company has requested that the FDA issue official guidelines clarifying which dips on the shelves can identify themselves as ‘hummus.’ According to a press release, Sabra suggested in its 11-page petition that “hummus must be comprised (by weight, besides water) predominately of chickpeas, and must be no less than 5% tahini.”
Further, they have asked that hummus itself be issued an official definition, eliminating the possibility that impostors posing as the chickpea spread woo unsuspecting consumers. They’d like for hummus to be henceforth known as “the semisolid food prepared from mixing cooked, dehydrated, or dried chickpeas and tahini with one or more optional ingredients.”
I would like to add to Sabra’s petition with an official petition of my own: ditch the pretzels in those mini hummus packages and get some Stacy’s pita chips in there instead.