FDA Wants to Define What’s Natural and Healthy

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Washington, DC — Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency is closer to issuing guidance on the the word “natural” and also wants to make it easier for consumers to know what is “healthy,” possibly through an icon or symbol.

In a speech to the National Food Policy Conference this week, Gottlieb compared the multi-year program to the overhaul of tobacco policy.

“The comprehensive, multiyear plan aims to cut obesity rates and ultimately reduce the prevalence of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. It builds on Obama-era policies, despite initial concerns from nutrition advocates that the Trump administration would roll back regulations or scrap them altogether,” he said.

“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,” Gottlieb said in prepared remarks. “The public health gains of such efforts would almost certainly dwarf any single medical innovation or intervention we could discover.”

The FDA will seek input on what constitutes healthy and the creation of an icon or symbol.

“Traditionally, we’ve focused primarily on the nutrients contained in food in considering what is healthy. But people eat foods, not nutrients,” Gottlieb said.

FDA will streamline its process for reviewing qualified health claims it receives from the industry, he said, and will prioritize those based on science that have the greatest effect on public health.

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