When the FDA announced last week that it would be reconsidering a 22-year-old definition of “healthy,” blogger Nicole Akers and I jumped at the chance to comment. She and I have exchanged blog posts a couple of times recently. Nicole’s take on the FDA’s news appears here, and the following is an excerpt of my article on her site.
What does “healthy” mean to you?
Or to your neighbor with a nut allergy? Or to your son’s baseball coach who drinks sports drinks like water? Or to the manufacturers of those snacks that beckon in the checkout line?
The FDA is about to undertake the process of updating the definition of “healthy” as it relates to nutrient content claims, so that foods can be labeled appropriately based on updated science and understanding. Under current guidelines, established in 1994, an avocado isn’t healthy because of its fat content. A low-fat Pop Tart is.
Everyone will be able to offer input in the re-defining process, but it could take some time. It took six years for the agency to agree on a definition for gluten-free foods, and the FDA never has defined the term “natural.”
Why not just keep it simple to help us know what is best to put in our shopping basket? (Except that simple is never simple for the government.