The Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics is asking the FDA to more clearly define food label claims like “made with whole grains,” “contains real fruit,” and “low sugar.” The new regulations would prevent manufacturers from leading consumers to believe that a food is healthier than it truly is.
According to the Academy, current on-package language and imagery often leads Americans to consume products that are “essentially candy” under the misconception that they are making healthy choices.
"Cereals, candy, and salty snacks tout healthful ingredients like berries, fruit, or kale, even when they contain minuscule amounts of these healthful ingredients," read the Academy's comments. "When consumers purchase and consume these generally unhealthy products based on misleading claims, producers of truly healthy foods lose market share, undermining healthful innovation."
These new rules could join other proposed changes to on-package language, including stricter definitions of terms like “healthy” and “natural.” FoodNavigator-USA reports that the FDA is currently considering developing a "healthy logo" to place on food packaging; the Academy wants to ensure that this logo would not appear on fruit snacks, sugary cereals, and other highly refined products.
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“Consumers appreciate food and beverages that embrace transparency on their labels," writes Food Dive. "While this sort of change may rile manufacturers who make these kinds of products, it will help consumers know more about what they are buying. It would also provide a boost to manufacturers who produce products that truly do have significant amounts of fruits and vegetables, as their health claims would be some of the few left standing.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the largest organization of food and nutrition professionals in the U.S., representing over 100,000 practitioners nationwide. The members of the organization are primarily registered dietitian nutritionists.
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