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  1. Food Labeling & Nutrition

Use of the Term Healthy on Food Labeling

The FDA has started a public process to update the "healthy" nutrient content claim for food labeling. Updating "healthy" is part of an overall plan to provide consumers with information and tools to enable them to easily and quickly make food choices consistent with public health recommendations and to encourage the development of healthier foods by the industry. The updated nutrient content claim would be consistent with current nutrition science and federal dietary guidelines. For example, current dietary guidelines focus on healthy dietary patterns and the food groups that comprise them, the type of fat in the diet rather than the total amount of fat consumed, and the amount of added sugars in the diet. Updating “healthy” is one of the FDA’s Nutrition Initiatives, which seek to reduce the burden of chronic disease through improved nutrition.

The FDA issued a request for information and comments on September 28, 2016 and held a public meeting on March 9, 2017. While FDA is considering how to redefine the term "healthy" as a nutrient content claim, food manufacturers can continue to use the term "healthy" on foods that meet the current regulatory definition. See Guidance for Industry: Use of the Term "Healthy" in the Labeling of Human Food Products for more information.

“Healthy” Symbol

The FDA also has begun the process to develop a symbol that industry can voluntarily use to label food products that meet the updated “healthy” definition. The FDA has issued two procedural notices on the preliminary quantitative consumer research it plans to conduct on voluntary symbols that could be used in the future to convey the nutrient content claim “healthy.” The first notice was issued in May 2021 and the second notice in March 2022. Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register on each proposed information collection and to give the public the opportunity to comment.

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