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FDA to Define ‘Healthy’ as a Content Claim

Sep 28, 2016

Following up on a statement issued in May, the Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that it has started a public process to redefine the “healthy” nutrient content claim for food labeling. During the process, food manufacturers can continue to use the term “healthy” on foods that meet the current regulatory definition. FDA also issued guidance for industry, saying the agency will not enforce certain regulatory requirements for products that use the term if the criteria described in the guidance document are met.

Specifically, FDA said it will exercise enforcement discretion for foods bearing the nutrient content claim "healthy" that are not low-fat but have a fat profile of mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are declared on the label. The same enforcement discretion will apply to any food bearing the nutrient content claim "healthy" that contains at least 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) of potassium or vitamin D.

Healthier Choices and Foods

FDA said its goal to redefine “healthy” is part of the agency’s plan to provide information that will allow consumers to make food choices consistent with public health recommendations. FDA also hopes to encourage the food industry to develop healthier foods.

Public health recommendations for various nutrients continue to evolve, as noted in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the updated Nutrition Facts label. The Dietary Guidelines, for example, include healthy dietary patterns that focus on food groups, the type of fat rather than the total amount of fat consumed and added sugars in the diet. Also, the nutrients that consumers aren’t getting enough of have changed.

FDA is seeking written comments and is planning public forums to receive additional input. The comments will be due 120 days from today. IDFA will plan to submit comments regarding “healthy” claims.

For more information:

Members with questions may contact Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, at and Michelle Matto, IDFA’s consultant on nutritional and labeling, at

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