The Government Wants To Define What “Healthy” Actually Means On Food Labels


Federal food regulators want to define what “healthy” food
really means,
according to a government document filed with the
federal register. They’ll begin taking public comment this
week.

Federal food regulators want to define what "healthy" food really means, according to a government document filed with the federal register. They'll begin taking public comment this week.

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AP/Reed Saxon

ID: 9693042

The word is everywhere in food labels and ads. But what does it
even mean?

“The marketplace is teeming with rows and rows of foods – some
new and some not; some healthier than others. Even for the well
informed, choosing what to buy is challenging, especially if
you want to choose a healthy diet for you and your families”
wrote Douglas Balentine, director of the FDA’s nutrition and
food labeling office, in a blog
post. “That’s why we’re looking at how we define the claim
‘healthy.’”

The announcement comes after the FDA faced mounting pressure
from consumers and companies to determine how “healthy” foods
should be defined.

McDonald’s
/ Via youtube.com

ID: 9693343

Up until now, the FDA has allowed companies to use the term
“healthy” on labels as long as its nutrient content contributes
to creating a healthy diet and the “healthy” label includes
nutrition information. For example, a label may show “healthy,
contains 3 grams of fat.”

But health science for various nutrients have evolved since the
FDA last set its rules in the 1990s — back when dietary
recommendations shunned fats and took an easy line on carbs.

Nutrition experts, and companies including KIND Snacks —
which has been at the center of controversy over the
“healthy” claims on its bars — have pushed the agency to
update its definition to include healthy fats that may be in
certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole
grains, and seafood.

@kindsnacks
/ Via instagram.com

ID: 9695119

“We’re encouraged by the speed of progress within the FDA and
see this as a notable milestone in our country’s journey to
redefine healthy,” said KIND Snacks CEO Daniel Lubetzky to
BuzzFeed News. “The FDA has posed a number of important
questions for comment, and in our continued efforts to advocate
for public health, we’re actively convening experts to help
provide answers grounded in current nutrition science.”

The definition, however, won’t change overnight. Food
manufacturers can continue to use the “healthy” label on foods
that meet the current regulatory definition while the agency
considers public comment.

The FDA has
set up a page for anyone wanting to submit their comments
on the topic.



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