U.S. FDA proposes new rules for packaged foods to qualify as ‘healthy’

FILE PHOTO: A worker sweeps outside of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in White Oak, Maryland, U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday proposed new rules for labeling packaged foods as “healthy”, as it seeks to help people make informed nutritional choices which can help lower the risk of chronic diseases.

The proposed changes to food labeling come on the day of the first White House summit on hunger, nutrition and health in more than 50 years.

Under the new proposal, packaged products will be allowed to carry the “healthy” label subject to them containing a certain amount of food from at least one of the groups, recommended by the current dietary guidelines, with specified limits on saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.

More than 80% of the U.S. population has not been eating enough vegetables, fruit and dairy, while consuming unhealthy amounts of added sugars, saturated fat and sodium in their diet, the FDA said.

“Too many people may not know what constitutes healthy food. FDA’s move will help educate more Americans,” U.S. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

The agency said it was also looking to devise a logo for manufacturers to display on products which meet the FDA’s healthy criteria to help consumers easily identify and select the right items.

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