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Health claims

Everyone from mom to Uncle Sam urges people to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthful diet. So why did the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allow only raw fruits and vegetables to make a "healthy" claim on food labels?

Petitioned by both the National Food Processors Assn. (NFPA) and the American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI), FDA is reopening its consideration of a requirement that only raw produce be exempt from a requirement that foods must contain at least 10% of the Reference Daily Intake per serving of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein or fiber in order to be labeled "healthy" (the so-called "jelly bean rule.") After examining nutrient profile data on frozen produce offered by AFFI, FDA is proposing to expand the exemption to frozen, single ingredient versions of the raw product. The agency also said it might further expand the exemption to other single ingredient, processed fruit and vegetable products once it had more information on how processing affects the nutritional profile of the foods. (For a full report on emerging standards in health claims labeling, see "Food fight!" on p. 57.)

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