New FDA “Healthy” Label Claim

The FDA is proposing a new “healthy” claim on the labels of foods, in order to socially engineer consumers to eat “better.” It is also considering an official “FDA Healthy” logo to be used on labels, a first for the agency. USDA has long used a logo for certified-organic products.

Your tax dollars at work:

“Claims like “healthy” on food labels can provide information to consumers to help them identify healthier food choices at a quick glance. Foods must meet specific nutrient-related criteria to use the nutrient content claim “healthy.” The FDA has begun a public process to update the “healthy” claim for food labeling to be consistent with current nutrition science and federal dietary guidance.

Updating the “healthy” claim is one of the FDA’s nutrition initiatives, which seek to reduce the burden of chronic disease and advance health equity. The agency also remains committed to continuing to create a healthier food supply through its recently released guidance to reduce sodium in processed, packaged and prepared foods; to providing consumers with valuable and accessible nutrition and labeling information about the foods they eat; and to providing industry with recommendations on how to use and improve dietary guidance statements on food packaging.”

The portion relevant to hemp food companies who wish to use the “Healthy” claim on their label is this:

Nuts and seeds (not including hempseed oil, that’s a different category)
Food Group Equivalent Minimum: 1 oz equivalent (28.4 g)
Added Sugar Limit: 0% Daily Value (DV= 50 g)
Sodium Limit: 10% Daily Value, or 230 mg (DV= 2,300 mg)
Saturated Fat Limit: 5% Daily Value, or 1 g (DV= 20 g, excluding saturated fat derived from nuts and seeds)

More from FDA:

“Under the proposed definition, raw whole fruits and vegetables would automatically qualify for the “healthy” claim because of their nutrient profile and positive contribution to an overall healthy diet. Examples of foods currently ineligible to bear the “healthy” claim based on the existing regulatory definition, but that would qualify under the proposed definition are water, avocados, nuts and seeds, higher fat fish, such as salmon, and certain oils. Products that currently qualify for “healthy” that would not under the proposed definition include white bread, highly sweetened yogurt and highly sweetened cereal.”

The primary hempseed products whole and shelled hempseed qualify, as does hemp protein powder but only as long as the products do not include a sugar. The secondary product development constraints are savory but not salty, and use of artificial sweeteners. I can see baked goods, meat alternatives, yogurt with say stevia, but not frozen desserts. My old favorite pan-roasted hemp nut with caramelized sugar and cocoa is not in the healthy guidelines, the added sugar. Using hemp nut as a source of saturated fat is pointless, it’s too low. But if your product has too much sat fat and you still need more lipid, then the hemp nut is advantaged. Unfortunately, the guidelines are silent on one of the biggest problems with the modern diet: lack of omega-3. We get too much omega-6 as it is, but not enough -3. Hemp nut is 9% omega-3. The guidelines also ignore using PDCAAS-adjusted protein values.

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