There is a growing number of people who seek out food that is healthy. But, what does the word “healthy” actually mean when it appears on a food label? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering how to define “healthy”.
The FDA recently published the final rules about what must appear on a Nutrition Facts Label The packages of food you pick up at the grocery store might already have the newly revised food label format. It makes the calories and serving sizes of products easier to see. It also gives additional nutritional information about added sugars, vitamin D, and potassium.
The FDA is aware that consumers use the Nutrition Facts label to help them make decisions about which product to buy. The updated Nutrition Facts label will be helpful, but there are other improvements that need to be made.
We often see things like “low in fat”, or “good source of” or “healthy” on a food label. The FDA is now taking a closer look at the word “healthy”. Consumers have seen that word on so many food labels that it may have lost its meaning all together.
The FDA is asking for public input on what people think the criteria should be, or what the terms should be, for an updated definition of “healthy” (when it is placed on a package of food). Those who want to share their thoughts about this can do. Start by visiting the FDA’s website that is called “Healthy” on Food Labeling. This request for guidance started on September 28, 2016.
The Food and Drug Administration came up with some questions that people may want to answer. What current dietary recommendations do you think should be reflected in the definition of “healthy”? What are the public benefits of defining the term “healthy”? What do consumers expect of foods that carry a “healthy” claim? What factors and criteria should be used for the new definition of “healthy”?
In addition to asking for public input about what “healthy” should mean, the FDA is also going to work with the food industry to encourage companies to change their products to have better nutrition profiles. Eventually, this should result in healthier food options for consumers. It will also give the word “healthy” a specific meaning.