USDA Proposes ‘Healthy’ Label Rule

March 26, 2020
Meat products will be able to call themselves “healthy” if they are relatively low in saturated fats, according to a proposed rule.

Meats and other USDA-regulated products will be able to call themselves “healthy” if they are relatively low in saturated fats, according to a rule published for review in the Federal Register.

Under the proposed rule, USDA-inspected products, which mostly comprise meat, poultry and eggs, will be able to use the word “healthy” on labeling and advertising if their fat content consists mostly of mono- or polyunsaturated fats, as opposed to saturated fat. This would apply even if the total fat content is higher than what FDA guidelines allow. In addition, such products could also be called “healthy” if they have 10% or more per serving of the recommended daily amount of potassium or vitamin D.

The USDA is trying to stem confusion over what is officially considered “healthy.” Much of that confusion is because, while the FDA has issued guidelines, it has never established an official definition of how much, or what kind, of fats a product can have to be deemed healthy.

The measure would formalize what USDA has already been doing in practice, which is allowing a healthy claim on labels for products with more non-saturated than saturated fats. USDA must approve labeling for all meat and poultry products.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for about two months.

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