With FDA’s recent announcement that it will re-evaluate the regulatory criteria for use of the word “healthy” for food labels, almonds now meet the agency’s Guidance for Industry Criteria
Until this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not allow almonds to be called “healthy” on food labels, due to the agency’s regulatory definition of the term that considered foods’ total fat rather than distinguishing among different types of fat.
Now in light of recommendations from the newest Dietary Guidelines for Americans that reflect updated nutrition research, FDA has announced it has begun a process to redefine the term “healthy” as it applies to labeling food products. It also issued a guidance document stating it does not intend to enforce the regulatory requirements for products that use the term if certain criteria are met. The criteria are that:
- Foods must meet the “low fat” requirement (<3 g fat per serving) or total fat per serving must be primarily comprised of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Mono- and polyunsaturated fat content must be declared on the Nutrition Facts Panel.
- Foods must contain at least 10% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein, fiber, potassium or vitamin D. If using potassium or vitamin D to substantiate, the amount per serving must be declared on the label.
Almonds meet FDA’s new guidance as they contain predominantly “good” monounsaturated fats and provide 14 percent of the Daily Value for fiber. A one-ounce serving of almonds contains 14 grams of total fat, of which 9 grams are monounsaturated fat and 3.5 grams are polyunsaturated fat (another “good” type of fat), along with 4 grams of fiber.
“At the Almond Board of California and in the nutrition science community, we applaud the FDA’s decision to redefine the term ‘healthy’ to reflect the evolving state of the science,” commented Karen Lapsley, D.Sc., Chief Scientific Officer at the Almond Board of California.
FDA said in its September 27 announcement that the purpose of revising the “healthy” criteria is to bring the use of the claim more in line with updated Nutrition Fact Label and the nutrition science reflected in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Healthy dietary patterns now focus on food groups, the type of fat rather than the total amount of fat consumed, and now address added sugars in the diet, it said. Nutrients of public health concern – meaning nutrients for which most consumers don’t meet recommendations — have also changed.
With these steps, the agency said it hopes to provide consumers with information and tools to enable them to easily and quickly make food choices consistent with public health recommendations, as well as to provide current guidance to the food industry to help it focus on foods and ingredients that support healthy dietary patterns.
Please visit the Almond Board of California blog to follow the Almond Board’s updates on this process.
About California Almonds
California almonds are a healthy (!), natural, wholesome and nutrient-rich food — high in vitamin E and magnesium, with 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per one-ounce (28-gram) serving. A one-ounce serving of almonds has 13g of unsaturated fat (of which 9 grams are monounsaturated fat and 3.5 grams are polyunsaturated fat) and only 1g of saturated fat.
Almonds are grown by more than 6,500 growers in California’s Central Valley, which is the only region in the U.S. able to successfully grow almonds commercially. They’re the second most valuable crop in California, and in fact comprise 80 percent of the world’s almonds.
The majority of almond farms in California are fewer than 100 acres, and 91 percent are family farms, many operated by third and fourth generation growers. Back in 1950, almond growers decided to combine their resources to found and fund what is now the Almond Board of California, a non-profit Federal Marketing Order that operates under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Almond Board supports growers with a research-based approach to production and marketing. It has funded more than $42 million since 1973 in research related to almond production, quality and safety, nutrition, and environmental aspects of farming. This has led to a number of breakthroughs and a spirit of continual improvement that has helped almond growers be increasingly efficient, productive and responsible with their valuable resources. To learn more about the Almond Board’s leadership in water efficiency and management, waste reuse, carbon reduction, bee health and more,