Would You Add Avocado to Your Meal?

November 18, 2016 By

FDA Healthy

Taking a survey of the dicentra office, the vast majority of the people said they would opt in for the additional avocado. Like most people, we putatively believed growing up that avocados were a healthy alternative to various food items you regularly find at the supermarket. However, according to the FDA, avocados, salmon and nuts are actually not considered healthy. This is according to FDA’s definition of healthy, which was drafted in 1993 and focused on “low fat”. This very simplistic approach may have been coherent in the 1980’s and 1990’s, however; our knowledge and understanding of nutrition has evolved and majority of the scientific community now accept the type of fat you consume is more important than the amount of fat you consume.

Grocery stores today are filled with rows of mouth-watering food items with eye-catching labels. Though, among the delicious items, it is difficult to determine which products are healthy and which are not. We can certainly read the Nutritional Facts table to get a better understanding of the core nutrients, however; like most consumers, our time is limited and we rely on food product labeling to determine what is appropriate for our diet. Thus, it is a common trend to look for product labels with the text, “healthy”.

In the United States of America, this has prompted the FDA to reassess the use of the term “healthy” on food labels. The government is considering changing their approach on the term “healthy” to give consumers more precise information in allowing them to make better dietary choices that improves their overall health. This commenting period began September 28, 2016 and is seeking input from food manufacturers, health nutrition professionals and public consumers. You can submit your comments electronically here.

In parts, this revaluation was sparked by a dispute with a company who makes snack bars, where they received a warning letter in 2015 for their misuse of the term “healthy” on their food products. The company eventually fought back and the FDA allowed them to retain the term “healthy” if they complied with special provisions.

This is likely the FDA’s push to keep abrupt with market trends and consumer eating habits while establishing a clear transparency in nutritional information. Just recently, the FDA banned partially hydrogenated oils (removing trans fat) and inquired the public’s input on the term, “natural”. After the commenting period ends for the term “healthy”, the FDA will review each input individually and could likely propose a rule change if it is within the best interest of the consumer. This will be followed up by another commenting period before proposing the final rule change. Together with the implementation period, changes to food labeling with “healthy” verbiage may not come into effect for several more years.

dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand.