Nuts to you

FDA gave the nod to the first of its qualified claims when it allowed packages of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and peanuts to contain the statement: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The label must also tell consumers to check the back label for full calorie and fat information.

Under FDA’s new health claim grading system, this would be a B-level claim. The agency did not approve the claim for some of the fattiest nuts. The California Walnut Commission noted that walnuts also have the advantage of high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. A spokesperson for the commission noted this is the first claim allowed for a whole food.

Although FDA’s health claim procedure formally begins in September, the nut industry had submitted a petition for a health claim in the fall of 2002.

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