business news in context, analysis with attitude

Axios reports that "the Food and Drug Administration is testing designs of a label that food manufacturers could voluntarily put on the front of packages indicating that a product is 'healthy' … The effort is controversial, in part because the meaning of 'healthy' continues to evolve. The FDA itself is in the process of updating its definition, which dates back to 1994.

"Other concerns are that such a label could be of dubious value, used too liberally by food makers, or seen by consumers as a product endorsement by the FDA.

"Nutritionists make the point that a balanced diet matters more to health than any individual food."

The FDA says that the broader goal is "to provide consumers who have an unsophisticated understanding of nutrition with an easy way to make choices in the supermarket — and to coax food manufacturers to improve their products," Axios writes.  The FDA is using focus groups and surveys to gauge consumer reactions to various models.

KC's View:

I tend to agree with the folks who believe that "healthy" is hard to quantify and qualify;  there is way too much context and nuance that has to be taken into consideration, and may not be as simplification becomes the end goal.

That said, it is an effort worth making … not just because of consumers who have an "unsophisticated understanding of nutrition," but because of manufacturers who actively work to deceive consumers, or at least subvert any real understanding of what health and moderation mean.