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NMPF Argues that Dairy Products Should be Defined as “Healthy”

May 8, 2017

Dairy products should be labeled as “healthy” and the government should recognize new science that shows the benefits of dairy at all fat levels, NMPF told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month as the agency takes input from industry groups about food labeling terminology.

NMPF told the FDA that dairy should be included in a separate category for “healthy” claims, similar to fruits and vegetables. National Milk also said FDA should disregard criteria on total fat and saturated fat in recognition that dairy foods are nutrient-dense and part of three different eating patterns that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) defines as “healthy.” The comments noted that the DGA recommends more dairy consumption.

FDA has long enforced rules about which foods can bear the term “healthy” and similar claims on their packaging. NMPF said that because of new scientific evidence, dairy foods considered “healthy” should not be limited to low-fat and fat-free varieties, but also include reduced-fat varieties. NMPF also advised FDA to be flexible in changing “healthy” guidelines so the agency could later add full-fat dairy products as scientific understanding progresses about the benefits of dairy fat in the diet.

Along with other groups, NMPF said FDA should better align its criteria with authoritative dietary guidance, including the DGA. Food identified as “under-consumed” by the DGA should automatically be able to make a “healthy” claim, NMPF said.