On December 1, 2015, snack company KIND LLC filed a Citizen Petition urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reconsider its regulations regarding use of the term “healthy” as a nutrient content claim on food labeling. According to KIND, FDA’s current regulations prevent foods like almonds, avocados, and salmon to use the term “healthy” because of their natural dietary fat content, even though these foods are known to be dense in nutrients and are seen as key components of a healthful diet.
In order to be labeled as “healthy,” FDA currently requires a food to:
- Contain at least 10% of the daily value for vitamins A, C, calcium, iron, protein or fiber
- Meet the requirements for a “low fat” and “low saturated fat” claim, and
- Meet cutoff requirements for sodium and cholesterol.
KIND is requesting that FDA update its definition of “healthy” to be consistent with current federal dietary guidance, which emphasizes overall nutrition quality rather than specific nutrient levels. Specifically, KIND asked that fats from the following ingredients be excluded from a food’s total fat calculation for the purposes of nutrient content claims, “provided that such [ingredients] are used in their whole form or have been processed in such a way that did not materially degrade their nutritional value”: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and seafood.
In its petition, KIND also requested that FDA implement “dietary guidance statements.” Dietary guidance statements would inform consumers of overall nutritional benefits of particular foods. One example offered by KIND is “nuts are part of a healthy diet.”
KIND’s petition is likely in response to an FDA warning letter issued to the company in March 2015. FDA took issue with KIND’s use of the term “healthy” on four of its snack bars (all of which contained nuts) due to the amount of saturated fat the bars contained.
Registrar Corp stays up-to-date on U.S. FDA food labeling regulations. Our Label and Ingredient Review Specialists can help food manufacturers determine if their food products meet FDA’s current definition of healthy as well as comply with other FDA labeling regulations. For questions about FDA food labeling regulations, contact Registrar Corp at +1-757-224-0177 or live help is available 24-hours a day at www.registrarcorp.com/livehelp.