Changes are coming to the FDA’s “healthy” nutrient claim for food labels. These changes are part of an overall initiative to empower health-conscious consumers with more information. This initiative is designed to allow consumers to make much faster and easier decisions that allow them to follow public health recommendations. The FDA hopes that the new labels will also encourage food manufacturers to produce healthier foods industrywide. As a part of this new initiative, the FDA is seeking the opinions of the public, to help them redefine what ‘healthy’ means.
Current regulatory definitions for healthy nutrients still apply while the FDA decides which attributes qualify a food for the updated healthy nutrient label. That means that food companies who are currently using the regulatory definition of healthy are still in compliance. In an effort to avoid confusion, the FDA will be releasing a guidance document. This document will be designed to inform companies that they will not be enforcing regulatory requirements for products using the term ‘healthy’, as long as certain criteria within the guidance document are sufficiently met.
As evidenced by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the updated Nutrition Facts label, public health recommendations have changed over the course of the last few years. It is now believed that healthy eating is more dependent on selecting the right food group and eating the right fat, as opposed to the total amount of fat consumed. Also notable is the addition of added sugars in a person’s diet. The FDA will be publishing a “request for information” in order to get public feedback as they seek to redefine the word ‘healthy’. The FDA already has plans in the words to offer other public forums so that they can get further public input.