The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked for comments on use of the word “healthy” in food labeling. PMA came down loud and clear that all fresh fruits and vegetables should qualify for “healthy” labeling.
In comments filed April 26, 2017
, we said: “…(w)e urge the agency to strengthen efforts to encourage all Americans to make half their plates fruits and vegetables at every meal by implementing nutrition labeling that helps consumers make healthful choices. We ask that the word ‘healthy’ apply to all fresh fruits and vegetables.” We noted, in the comments, that categorical inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables for “healthy” labeling would allow consumers to make healthful food choices.
Although everyone knows they should eat more fruits and vegetables, with few exceptions, the U.S. population does not meet the recommendations. In fact, consumption, as compared to the recommendations, is woefully low. We, in the produce industry, recognize our responsibility to make driving greater consumption a top priority. We need to use every path we can to drive home the need for greater consumption.
PMA pursues many paths as we offer leadership and support for marketing fresh fruits and vegetables. Among them:
- We offered these comments on the use of “healthy” on produce labels to ensure our members can use this term to remind consumers repeatedly that fruits and vegetables are among the best food choices they can make.
- We advocate for children’s consumption through programs like eat brighter!, which targets kids 2 to 5 years old and their millennial families; and FNV, which uses pro-bono celebrity endorsements to attract teens and tweens to greater produce consumption.
- We participated in a supermarket tour for key Capitol Hill staffers to remind them how important it is to have ongoing policies that drive consumption of all forms of fruits and vegetables as well as the appropriations to make that possible for all consumers.
We noted that health professionals consistently recommend fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet, citing: “The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
call for consuming a healthy eating pattern that includes a variety of vegetables…and fruits…. Healthy eating with fruits and vegetables can serve as a keystone habit to help with other dietary recommendations such as limiting added sugars, reducing sodium and choosing a variety of nutrient-dense foods.”
Clearly, we stated, to make half the plate fruits and vegetables remains important advice for all consumers. PMA will continue to make driving greater consumption — hence, greater sales — a priority for member value.
Wegmans nutritionist Krystal Register explains to Capitol Hill staffers the importance of driving greater consumption of fruits and vegetables. PMA participated in the supermarket tour to keep consumption policy and appropriations front and center because almost no consumers meet the recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption.
photo by Kathy Means, PMA