Nuts Get First Modified Health Claim for Foods 31397

August 18, 2003

2 Min Read
Nuts Get First Modified Health Claim for Foods

Nuts Get First Modified Health Claim for Foods

WASHINGTON--In case there were any doubts, nuts are officiallyconsidered healthy. On July 14, the International Tree Nut Council and theCalifornia Walnut Commission were notified in letters from the Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) that their petitions for health claims that would link nutswith reducing risk for heart disease were approved. Nuts receiving the go-aheadwere almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pinenuts, pistachios, walnuts and--although technically a legume--peanuts.

In letters to the International Tree Nut Council and California WalnutCommission, FDA wrote there is sufficient basis for nuts to carry a qualifiedhealth claim in terms of reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Forexample, in the case of peanuts, a package can now carry the label:"Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces perday of most nuts, such as peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat andcholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. [See nutrition information forfat content.]"

FDA said the nut claims did not go through the new health claim proceduresintroduced earlier in June. "The [nut health claims] were already in thehopper and while they are the first conventional foods to carry a qualifiedclaim, they did not go through the new procedures we just proposed," an FDAspokesperson told INSIDER. "All future petitions will."

In the days following the announcement, nut associations across the countryreleased statements to spread the news about FDA's decision. "FDA'sauthorization may came as a surprise to those who mistakenly believe nuts are afood to avoid," wrote the Almond Board of California ( California Walnut Commission concurred. "Not too long ago, our culturehad become totally fat phobic and feared eating foods like walnuts," saidDennis Balint, chief executive officer of the commission.

Some, like Karen Reinecke of the California Pistachio Board, were ecstatic."This is fabulous news for pistachio fans," she said. The board ( to support the new FDA health claim by launching a public awarenesscampaign, "Be Good to Your Heart--Living & Snacking the Heart-HealthyWay."

Summing it up best was Lisa Kelly of The Hazelnut Council: "It's alwaysa bonus when we discover that foods we enjoy actually serve an important role indisease prevention."

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