When we grocery shop, we may all be looking for labels that say “healthy” or even “natural,” but what do those even mean? The Food And Drug Administration is trying to get more specific about healthy food guidelines, and the foods that would fall under those specifications.
CNBC reports FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Thursday in a speech at the National Food Policy Conference that “The agency plans to explore what it means for food products to be considered healthy and may create an icon or symbol to label those that meet the possible new definition.” Like recent efforts from the U.K.’s Public Health England, the FDA announcement aims to help the U.S. become healthier, even as obesity and diabetes statistics skyrocket. Gottlieb also stated, “Improving the nutrition and diet of Americans would be another transformative effort toward reducing the burden of many chronic diseases, ranging from diabetes to cancer to heart disease.”
The FDA is specifically looking at defining the term “healthy,” and “possibly creating an icon or symbol to display on food products that meet the definition.” What would that be, we wonder: A sun? A heart? A tree? A big H? “Natural” is an apparently “controversial word” that will also be the target of future exploration. Currently, the FDA website says that the FDA considers the term “natural” to mean that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.” The term, however, currently doesn’t refer to anything addressing food production methods, or any nutritional health benefits in particular.