Arlington, VA – Recently, FMI – The Food Industry Association submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the agency’s proposed rule to update the definition of the term “healthy” when used as a nutrient content claim in labeling. FMI Chief Public Policy Officer Jennifer Hatcher issued the following statement on FMI’s recommendations to FDA: 

“FMI welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to FDA on its proposed changes to the definition of ‘healthy.’ While we commend the agency for recognizing the need to make updates to the definition and we broadly support the framework of the proposed rule, we are concerned the proposal is too restrictive in scope and could inadvertently lead to consumers avoiding certain foods that are otherwise part of a healthy eating pattern. 

“We urge FDA to consider more flexible criteria that takes into account the wide variety of foods that are considered healthy in alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A definition that only allows an exceedingly small number of foods to bear a healthy claim would be counter-productive to the agency’s goal of improving public health. 

“To be clear, FMI supports efforts to provide consumers with information to make informed decisions about their health. As part of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, FMI members committed to reaching at least 100 million consumers through evidence-based messages and educational tools in 2023 to support healthy eating patterns that align with the Dietary Guidelines and are working to exceed that goal. We stand ready to work with FDA to ensure updates to the definition of ‘healthy’ are inclusive of the broad array of foods that both federal guidelines and nutrition professionals alike recognize as beneficial for physical well-being.”