Consider reviewing packaging and advertising making “healthy” as a nutrient content claim
Guidance recently announced by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) suggests that food products manufacturers should revisit their uses of the term “healthy” in their packaging. The new labeling recommendations are not currently regulatory requirements. They do, however, represent the FDA’s current thinking on the subject. As the agency indicates its intent to amend related federal regulations after collecting public input, the guidelines may warrant consideration for use in advertising as well as packaging.
The new recommendations indicate that foods labeled as “healthy” are those which (1) Are not low in total fat, but have a fat profile makeup of predominantly mono and polyunsaturated fats; or (2) contain at least ten percent of the Daily Value (“DV”) per reference amount customarily consumed (“RACC”) of potassium or vitamin D. The FDA announced them after issuing final rules earlier this year updating the Nutrition Facts label and serving size information for packaged food. According to the agency, the updates were necessary to reflect new scientific information reflected in its 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.
Specifically, the FDA now recommends that foods using the term “healthy” on their labels have a fat profile makeup of predominantly mono and polyunsaturated fats that together are greater than the total saturated fat content. The focus is less informing on the total fat content than on the level of fats encouraged by current dietary science.
Additionally, under the new guidance, “healthy” labeling may be supported by a nutrient contribution of at least ten percent of the DV per RACC of potassium or vitamin D. Current requirements for a “healthy” claim call for at least 10% of the DV per serving of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein, or fiber.
If you have questions about this post or the legal aspects of advertising or brand marketing, contact the firm. Inspiration Spaceship is a boutique Portland creative law practice focused on the business and legal needs of the creative industry.