In a sure sign that health-conscious Americans are dreaming of a light Christmas, a record number of dairy firms are selling low-fat eggnog this holiday season.
The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it had issued 27 temporary permits to companies to produce the low-fat drink. Only two such permits were issued in 1989 and none in 1988. Temporary permits allow companies to test-market products to gauge consumer reaction.
Federal rules require eggnog to contain 6 percent milk fat. To be labeled "light," the FDA requires firms to cut the fat content of the drink by at least 50 percent and calories by at least 30 percent.
While consumers are experimenting with low-fat eggnog, sales are slower than some in the dairy industry had expected. One problem is a glitch in a federal milk marketing rule that forces the price of low-fat eggnog above that of the regular drink, said Rolf Thienemann, president of Muller Pinehurst Dairy Co. in Rockford, Ill.