The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced proposals for updated criteria for when foods can be labeled with the nutrient content claim ‘healthy’ on their packaging.
The FDA says the proposed rule would align the definition of the ‘healthy’ claim with current nutrition science, the updated Nutrition Facts label and the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The proposed rule comes on the heels of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, as well as the release of the related national strategy, which aims to end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity, reduce diet-related diseases and close disparity gaps by 2030.
“Nutrition is key to improving our nation’s health,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Healthy food can lower our risk for chronic disease. But too many people may not know what constitutes healthy food. FDA’s move will help educate more Americans to improve health outcomes, tackle health disparities and save lives.”
The proposed rule would update the ‘healthy’ claim definition to better account for how all the nutrients in various food groups contribute and may work synergistically to create healthy dietary patterns and improve health. Under the proposed definition for the updated “healthy” claim more foods that are part of a healthy dietary pattern and recommended by the Dietary Guidelines would be eligible to use the claim on their labelling, including nuts and seeds, higher fat fish (such as salmon), certain oils and water.
Under the proposed definition, in order to be labelled with the ‘healthy’ claim on food packaging, the products would need to:
• Contain a certain meaningful amount of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups (for example, fruit, vegetable and dairy) recommended by the Dietary Guidelines.
• Adhere to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.