Last week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration proposed a new rule that would revise when the term "healthy" can be used on food products.  The FDA says that, when using the term "healthy" on food, it communicates that "the levels of nutrients in the food are such that the food may help consumers maintain healthy dietary practices."  The FDA first defined the term "healthy" in 1994.

In announcing the proposed rule, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, said, "FDA's move will help educate more Americans to improve health outcomes, tackle health disparities and save lives." 

Under the proposed new rule, in order for a food to be labeled as healthy, the food would need to:

  • Contain a certain meaningful amount of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups (e.g., fruit, vegetable, dairy, etc.); and 
  • Adhere to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.  (For example, the limit for sodium is 10% of the daily value per serving.)

The FDA also said that it is still in the process of studying and exploring the development of a symbol that companies could use to show that their product is a "healthy" food.  The FDA noted that, "The agency realizes that consumers are busy and, while shopping, may be seeking a quick way to identify and select healthy products."