Food and Drug Administration issues new guidance on foods that can be classified as ‘healthy’

The Food and Drug Administration announced, on Wednesday, new rules for nutrition labels that can be placed on the front of food packages to indicate that they are “healthy.”

Under the proposal, manufacturers could label their products as “healthy” if they contain a meaningful amount of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups (such as fruits, vegetables or dairy) recommended by the dietary guidelines. They must also adhere to certain limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars. For example, cereals must contain three-quarters of an ounce of whole grains and no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium and 2.5 grams of added sugars per serving for the food manufacturer to use the word “healthy” on the label. .

The labels are intended to help consumers more easily navigate nutrition labels and make better choices at the grocery store. The Suggested rule It would reconcile the definition of a “healthy” claim with current, updated nutrition science Nutrition Facts Poster and current Dietary Guidelines for Americansthe Food and Drug Administration said.

The agency is also developing a code that companies can voluntarily use to label food products that meet federal guidelines for the term “healthy.”

came the ad ahead of Wednesday’s White House conference on hunger, nutrition, and health. conference was The first of its kind since 1969, when a summit hosted by President Richard Nixon’s administration led to major expansions of food stamps, school lunches and other programs that have been credited with reducing nationwide hunger and providing an important safety net during a pandemic.

Once the new FDA system is finalized, the White House said in a statement this week, it will “quickly and easily pass on nutrition information” through tools such as “star ratings or traffic light charts to promote equitable access to nutrition information and healthy choices.” She added that the system “could also prompt the industry to reformulate its products to be healthier,” by adding more vegetables or whole grains or developing new products to meet the updated definition.

Obesity increases among children aged 5-11 years during the pandemic

Six out of 10 American adults have chronic lifestyle-related diseases, often caused by obesity and poor diet. to me Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says these diseases are the leading cause of death and disability and a major driver of the nation’s $4.1 trillion annual health care costs.

The obesity epidemic is not going in the right direction. Studies show Obesity, especially among children, has risen significantly during the pandemic, With the largest change among children aged 5 to 11, who gained on average more than five pounds. Before the pandemic, about 36 percent of children ages 5 to 11 were overweight or obese. during the pandemic, which rose to 45.7%.

in In some Latin American countries, governments have instituted stricter food labeling laws, cracking down on sugary drinks and ultra-processed foods in an effort to escape the obesity epidemic that has swept the United States. In Chile, for example, foods that are high in added sugar, saturated fat, calories, and added sodium must have black stop signs. on the front of their package. Anything with black stop signs may not be sold or promoted in schools or included in television advertisements targeting children.

Latin America’s war on obesity could be a model for the United States

Groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest have long called on the Food and Drug Administration to adopt mandatory, standardized, and evidence-based labeling on the front of the package. They say nutrition labels on the front of packaging will reach consumers more than “nutrition facts” on the back of packages, helping them choose more wholesome foods quickly and motivating companies to reformulate products in a healthier direction. According to nutritionists, Americans generally consume a lot of sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats in packaged foods, so that they can quickly identify foods that are high or low in these nutrients will be of great public health benefit.

The Biden administration has endorsed the FDA’s efforts to suppress sodium intake, bolstering the agency’s efforts Last year’s announcement Food companies and restaurants reduce sodium in the foods they make by about 12 percent over the next two and a half years. In a parallel effort, the administration is proposing that the FDA reduce sugar consumption by “includes potential voluntary targets” for food manufacturers’ sugar content.

The new label language is sure to be controversial among food manufacturers who have sought to capitalize on Americans’ interest in healthier foods.

“The FDA’s definition of ‘healthy’ can only succeed if it is clear and consistent for manufacturers and understandable by consumers,” Roberta Wagner, a spokeswoman for the industry organization, the Consumer Brands Association, said Tuesday.

But what constitutes “healthy” food is a thorny topic among nutritionists. Can foods rich in what many nutritionists call “good fats,” such as those containing almonds or avocados, be considered “unhealthy,” while servings of artificially sweetened fruit or low-fat, sugary yogurts might be considered “healthy”?

The proposal is far from final and is likely to meet some resistance from food manufacturers, who in recent years have sought to take advantage of the growing desire among consumers to eat healthy food.

“In fact, the FDA’s proposed rule would need to undergo significant review and refinement to ensure that it does not place food policies above science and fact,” said Sean McBride, DSM founder of strategic communications and former executive director of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Details matter because the final rule goes beyond simple definition by creating a de facto nutrition profile organizational chart that will define how food is made for decades to come.”

The labeling on the front of the package shows real promise but it should be mandatory, simple, nutrient-packed and include calories, said Peter Lowery, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He said such labels change consumer buying behavior and force companies to reformulate their products to get better ratings. Unless the definition and health label are very specific, he said, some companies will attempt to manipulate the system by “hygienic washing” of their less healthy products to appear healthy.

How the Trump administration limited the scope of the 2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines

FDA started general operation to update the “healthy” nutritional content claim for food labels in 2016. But critics said nutritional guidelines often failed to focus on the right things. During the Trump administration, for example, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Committee No consideration should be given to the health effects of consuming red meat, ultra-processed foods, and sodium.

Federal nutrition guidelines have seen some significant swings in the pendulum. For many years, recommendations were based on intuitive but incorrect thinking: Eating fat makes us fat. Consuming large amounts of cholesterol gives us a high level of cholesterol.

The term “healthy” was first defined by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994, initially focusing on fat content. In 2015, the agency sent a warning letter to snack maker Kind about the company’s “healthy” label. in the case? The plates, mostly nuts, were high in saturated fat. Nutrition and Kind Experts have submitted a formal petition to the FDA “to update its regulations around the term health when used as a claim for nutrient content on food labels,” to reflect current science.

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reversed its position, allowing Kind to use the term “healthy” and announced that the agency would reconsider the definition of the word.

New Food and Drug Administration guidelines announced this week will automatically allow whole fruits and vegetables to carry a “healthy” claim, and prepared food products must meet standards for nutrient requirements and percentage limits for added sugars, sodium and saturated fat.

Seven years after filing a file Citizen’s petitionKind CEO Russell Stokes said Wednesday that Kind is celebrating that the Food and Drug Administration has proposed an updated regulatory definition of “healthy.” “A rule that reflects current nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a victory for public health — and a win for all of us.”

Modern dietary guidelines have focused on eating a plant-based diet, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They maintain a hard line on limiting salt and saturated fat intake, but simply state that cholesterol is “not a nutrient of concern,” eliminating the long-standing 300-milligram-per-day limit.

Leave a Comment