US Food and Drug Administration Reconsiders the Meaning of “Healthy”

This week the Food and Drug Administration announced it would reconsider what is allowed to be labelled as “healthy.” The decision is a major step in the FDA catching up with what Americans already considered to be healthy. The change was prompted in large part by a Citizen’s Petition by Kind LLC, maker of popular fruit and nut bars, arguing that their product is worthy of the label despite being high in fat. The petition pointed out that regulatory guidelines prevented foods like nuts, avocados, olives, and salmon from containing the world “healthy” due to high fat content, while sugary cereals such as Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and low-fat pop-tarts would be allowed to use the label “healthy” because they fit the FDA’s nutritional requirements. The FDA’s announcement to reconsider its definition of “healthy” has wide reaching implications: namely the increasing power of public opinion and the existing disconnect between the public’s perception of health and the government’s word.

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