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FDA Permits Limited Use of the Term “Healthy”On Food Labels

FDA issued letters to KIND, LLC over its use of the terms "healthy and tasty" in connection with its listing of product ingredients.

Last year the FDA sent a Warning Letter to KIND, LLC the maker of various nutrition  bars over its use of the terms “healthy and tasty” in connection with its  listing of product ingredients. FDA declared that among other issues, the term “healthy” was an implied nutrient content claim which could only be made if the food was below the permitted amount of saturated fat, or did not exceed the amount of calories that came from saturated fat.

KIND modified its labels to remove and amend certain nutrient content claims.  On April 20, 2016,  the FDA issued a closeout letter to KIND, announcing that it would  permit the use of the terms “healthy and tasty” in describing the company’s product corporate philosophy so long as  the terms are not represented as nutrient content claims and do not appear on the same display panel as nutrient content claims or nutrition information. FDA also announced that it was going to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims generally, including the term ”healthy” and would be soliciting public comment on these issues in the near future.

Take away:  Marketers of health-related products need to carefully consider their use of the term “healthy” in describing the product.  FDA will likely consider the term problematic if the product itself is unhealthy even if there are other healthy attributes.  

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