A ‘healthy’ food label could soon mean the product is actually healthy


The Food and Drug Administration will reevaluate its definition of ‘healthy,’ which could upend how a range of foods are marketed.

An FDA spokeswoman said in an email that the agency plans to solicit public comment on the matter in the near future.

Read more: Here’s what ‘all natural’ actually means

What’s considered ‘healthy’ could soon change

The FDA currently allows use of the term on packaging only when products meet certain nutrient criteria. In 2015, it told the maker of Kind fruit-and-nut bars that its products should not be called ‘healthy’ because of their saturated fat levels.

That prompted Kind to ask for a re-evaluation of the term’s definition, noting the fat in its bars comes from nuts.

Kind noted the FDA’s rule prevents avocados and salmon from being labeled ‘healthy,’ while allowing the term for fat-free puddings and sugary cereals.


The FDA has since permitted Kind to label its products with the term “healthy,” but the topic remains a high point of discussion among health and nutrition leaders about how the term can be used to label food and the need for the FDA to update it’s two decade old standards.  

Learn more: Look for these labels for healthier food options

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