What is a “healthy” food? Should a “healthy” food contain specific levels of vitamins and minerals? Conversely, should a “healthy” food limit potentially harmful components such as saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar or sodium? Questions surrounding the definition of a “healthy” labeling claim have surged in recent years due to the rising consumer demand for nutritious foods.
To address this labeling issue, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened a meeting this month with industry stakeholders and consumer advocates. The meeting featured panel sessions, oral presentations and breakout sessions to facilitate a discussion regarding scientific data, consumer perceptions, and the current federal nutrition guidelines. Ultimately, the goal of the meeting was to reach a consensus supporting a revised definition and regulatory criteria for a “healthy” food labeling claim.