Defining 'Healthy.' (Food and Drug Administration Definitions for Food Labels) (Brief Article)

Article excerpt

A "healthy" food is low in fat and saturated fat, contains limited amounts of cholesterol and sodium, and is a good source of one or more of six important nutrients, under federal regulations issued last May.

The regulations define how the descriptive term "healthy" can be used on food labels. They come from FDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (FSIS oversees labeling of meat and poultry; FDA is responsible for labeling of all other foods.)

FDA's rules became effective May 8, 1994, for most products whose labeling carries the term "healthy" for the first time. Products already carrying the term have until Jan. 1, 1996, to comply. USDA's regulations for "healthy" take effect Nov. 10, 1995.

Besides being low in fat and saturated fat and having limited amounts of cholesterol and sodium, a food product labeled "healthy" must provide at least 10 percent of the Daily Value for vitamins A or C, or iron, calcium, protein, or fiber.

Meal-type products, such as frozen entrees and multi-course frozen dinners, must provide 10 percent of two or three of those nutrients, depending on the type and size of the meal. …