Is it time for the FDA to redefine “healthy”? (Photo: KIND)
Snack company KIND is sparring back after being told to remove the term “healthy” from several of their bars, asking the FDA to reconsider the term. As Yahoo Health reported in April, KIND received a warning letter from the FDA, asking them to remove a “healthy” label from their bars that contained higher levels of saturated fat.
FDA regulations state that “healthy” products need to have less than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving. These bars have anywhere from 2.5 to 5 grams of saturated fat per serving.
Health experts fired back at the time, calling the focus on saturated fat confusing, and raising concern over weak regulations for buzzwords on food labels. “Foods are made of a mix of all kinds of different nutrients, so reducing a food down to grams of one single nutrient sends an extremely confusing message,” nutrition expert Karen Ansel told Yahoo Health. For example, a single-serve container of Greek yogurt, 1 ounce of walnuts, or a salmon fillet wouldn’t qualify under FDA “healthy” standards, even though all are known to have multiple healthy properties. “Even an egg and a cup of 1 percent milk contain roughly 2 grams of saturated fat, but they’re still extremely healthful,” Ansel said.
Now, KIND is taking action, petitioning the FDA to redefine the term “healthy” to meet current scientific and nutritional knowledge. KIND adjusted its packaging to fit the FDA regulations after receiving the letter, a representative tells Yahoo Health. But the company is now taking it a step further, asking that regulations be updated, rather than conforming to what many believe to be outdated science.
“[W]e learned that the regulations needed to be updated as they are inconsistent with the dietary guidelines and current nutrition science,” founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky told CNNMoney.
Several nutritionists have since signed on to KIND’s petition, and if the country’s changing stance on fat is any indication, the term should be getting a little more structure soon.
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