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Archive for March 2017

Posted on Monday, March 20 2017 at 6:47 pm by -

FDA’s Public Meeting on the Use of the Term “Healthy” in the Labeling of Human Food Products – Summary and Major Takeaways

By Carolina M. Wirth

On March 9, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) held a public meeting in Rockville, MD, which FDA officials described as a way to engage in a dialog with the public and regulated industry and allow for opportunity to ask questions on how to redefine the term “healthy.” In the opening remarks, FDA noted that the food landscape has shifted from being “nutrient-focused” to more of a “food-based” focus, and that the current regulation for the use of the term “healthy” was issued in the early 1990s at a time when food science was focused on limiting total fat intake and on ensuring that consumers were able to meet certain nutritional deficiencies that were identified to be of concern at that time (e.g., Vitamins C and A).

As science has evolved, the focus has shifted from total fat reduction to encouraging consumers to eat certain types of fats and deficiencies in Vitamin D and potassium intake. With the modernization of the Nutrition Facts panel and serving size regulations to reflect more current science, FDA is seeking to, among other things, determine how to align the use of the term “healthy” with those recent changes.

The first part of the public meeting consisted of two panel discussions that focused on consumer attitudes, beliefs, and behavior and provided stakeholders with an opportunity to share their perspectives on how “healthy” should be defined. The second half of the meeting consisted of breakout sessions covering the following three topics: 1) Healthy as a nutrient-based claim; 2) Healthy as a food component-based claim; and 3) Consumer meaning and understanding of the term Healthy. The meeting ended with presentations from interested members of the public and industry.
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