Food and Drug Administration releases new guidelines for ‘healthy’ food

Mandate revises requirements for using the claim ‘healthy’ on food products

Consumers rely on food labels when navigating grocery stores to make informed decisions about the foods they consume.

In recent years nutrition science and federal food guidance have shifted, making the current “healthy” definition outdated, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

After years of slinging around definitions for the word “healthy” on food labels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued new guidelines.

Young woman shopping for milk at grocery store. (FOTON )

Under new regulations, a product labeled as “healthy” must have the equivalent of a serving of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, or protein as indicated in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, according to the FDA.

About 5 percent of all packaged foods are currently labeled as “healthy” in supermarkets across the U.S., according to the FDA.

The new regulatory standard will limit the term ‘healthy’ to circumstances in which the food accurately represents the levels of nutrients in food based on current nutrition science.

The previous definition, determined in 1994, allowed manufacturers to use the term “healthy” on foods that the FDA said don’t help consumers maintain healthy diets.

“By empowering consumers with more informative labeling to choose healthier diets, consumers will be able to make informed and healthful dietary choices,” according to the FDA.

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About the Author:

Emily Ramirez is a Digital Producer trainee for KSAT 12. She has written and photographed for several magazines and newspapers, including San Antonio Magazine, Austin Monthly and the San Antonio Current. A proud San Antonio native and graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, she is now completing her M.A. at UTSA.