Gum, bottled water, pizza bagels want ‘healthy’ label
Pizza bagels, chewing gum and bottled water want to play a starring new role in our diets: Foods that can be called healthy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is revamping its definition of healthy to reflect our changing understanding of nutrition science. The push is fueling debate about eating habits and what the new standard should say.
Frozen food-makers are seeking special rules for “mini meals,” citing little pizza bagels and dumplings as examples that might qualify. Chewing gum and bottled water companies say they should no longer be shut out from using the term just because their products don’t provide nutrients.
Some say the word healthy is inherently misleading when applied to a single product instead of an overall diet.
“The problem is that healthy is relative,” said Bruce Y. Lee, a professor of international health at Johns Hopkins. Subsisting on broccoli alone, for instance, wouldn’t be healthy.
The federal standards for use of the word “healthy” on labels was established in 1994 and set limits on total fat and cholesterol.