The word “healthy” may soon be taking on a whole new meaning—at least when it comes to food labeling.
The U.S. FDA has begun a public process to redefine the “healthy” nutrient content claim, as the current rules have come under scrutiny of late for preventing nutritious items with high fat content from being listed as “healthy.”
The FDA’s efforts are part of its overall plan to provide consumers with better information and tools to enable them to quickly and easily make food choices consistent with public health recommendations and to encourage the development of healthier foods by the industry.
“This is good news for food manufacturers,” says James Schurz, a partner with Morrison & Foerster, who represents companies on advertising, product liability, and food law matters. “Our understanding about nutrition has evolved and it follows that the definition for the ‘healthy’ labeling claim should reflect our current understanding. This current regulatory framework is out-of-step with our understanding of a well-balanced diet and the advances of nutrition science. Consumers need a regulatory framework that provides meaningful information based on sound science.”
Historically, FDA labeling focused on the amount of fat in a food. Today, nutritionists agree that the type of fat, rather than amount of fat, is the more relevant inquiry.
For example, Schurz notes, consumers are encouraged to eat more plant-based fats and omega-3s from fatty fish. By contrast, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting saturated fats to less than 10 percent of total daily calorie intake.| | | Next → | Single Page
About Keith Loria
A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is an award-winning journalist who has been writing for major newspapers and magazines for close to 20 years, on topics as diverse as food, sports, business, theater, and government. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at Rinkside, BCA Insider, and Soap Opera Digest. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.