FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Dietary Guidance Statements on Food Labels
March 24, 2023
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued draft guidance to provide industry with the agency’s current thinking on how and when to use Dietary Guidance Statements in food labeling, and to ensure that Dietary Guidance Statements promote good nutrition and nutritious dietary practices. Dietary Guidance Statements are used on food labels to provide consumers with information about foods or food groups that can contribute to a nutritious dietary pattern to help consumers make healthier choices more easily.
The draft guidance provides the agency’s best thinking about the use of statements, such as “make half your grains whole grains,” and “eat a variety of vegetables.” The draft guidance recommends that foods with Dietary Guidance Statements contain a meaningful amount of the food or category of foods that is the subject of the statement and that they also not exceed certain amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. The recommendations in the guidance can enhance consistency in the use of such statements and consumer understanding.
Eating patterns in the U.S. do not align with dietary recommendations. Most people in the U.S. do not eat enough fruits, vegetables, dairy or whole grains, and they consume too much saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Poor nutrition plays a key role in chronic and preventable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Labeling statements, such as Dietary Guidance Statements, act as quick signals on food packages to help consumers better understand nutrition information and make healthier food choices. Current dietary recommendations focus on the entirety of the diet and how food and beverage choices affect health. This guidance is one way to help support the use of more nutrition-related labeling statements that focus on foods and food groups in relation to nutritious eating patterns.
On July 26, 2018, the FDA held a public meeting where the agency sought input on its approach to claims and nutrition-related statements on food labels. The comments received during the public meeting and to the docket demonstrated there is a clear interest in labeling claims, statements, symbols and vignettes that will help consumers determine how foods can contribute to nutritious dietary patterns.
This guidance is part of the FDA’s overall effort to improve dietary patterns in the United States, help reduce the burden of nutrition-related chronic diseases, and advance health equity. It is part of the National Strategy presented at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health held on September 28, 2022. At the conference, the FDA announced it issued a proposed rule to update the definition of “healthy” on food labels, to help consumers more easily identify healthy food choices. Also part of the National Strategy is the FDA’s final guidance for the food industry, issued in October 2021, that provides voluntary, short-term sodium reduction targets for a broad range of processed, packaged and prepared foods to help reduce the amount of sodium in the U.S. food supply.
To Submit Comments:
Comments on the draft guidance should be submitted within 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. You may submit electronic comments to Regulations.gov. All written comments should be identified with the docket number FDA-2023-D-1027 and with the title of the guidance document.