KIND Healthy Snacks files petition to change FDA’s definition of ‘healthy’

December 8, 2015

KIND Healthy snacks, with support from leading nutrition, public health and public policy experts, is urging the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to update its regulations around the term healthy when used as a nutrient content claim in food labeling. The company filed a Citizen Petition with the goal of addressing outdated regulations, as well as helping to ensure that the public receive sound and consistent guidance about nutrition.

The petition requests better alignment between food labeling regulations, the latest nutrition science, and federal dietary guidelines. The petition reflects broad support within the food science and nutrition community to call attention to the importance of eating real foods made with wholesome and nutrient-rich ingredients as part of a healthy diet.

Currently, the FDA mandates that the term healthy only be used as a nutrient content claim to describe foods that contain 3 g or less total fat and 1 g or less of saturated fat per serving, with the exception of fish and meat, which are required by the regulation to have 5 g or less total fat and 2 g or less saturated fat per serving. Today’s regulations preclude nutrient-rich foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, and salmon from using the term healthy as a nutrient content claim.

 “The current regulations were created with the best intentions when the available science supported dietary recommendations limiting total fat intake. However, current science tells us that the unsaturated fats in nutrient-dense foods like nuts, seeds and certain fish are beneficial to overall health,” said Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and CEO of KIND.

In addition to requesting updates to the current nutrient content claim regulations, KIND is also asking the FDA to implement a framework for regulating dietary guidance statements. Dietary guidance statements are different from nutrient content claims and would provide simple communications about the overall nutritional benefits of a food as part of a healthy diet. One example of a dietary guidance statement could be “eating nuts has been shown to be part of a healthy diet.”

In drafting the petition, KIND sought support and advice from leading nutrition experts. Those individuals who have signed or authored letters of support for the food policy changes brought forth by KIND‘s Citizen Petition include Jeff Blumberg, James Painter, Connie Diekman, Mark Hyman, David Jenkins, and Walter Willett.

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