U.S.: FDA gives green light for heart-healthy stickers on avocados
Until recently there were labeling limitations on fruits that didn't meet "low fat" requirements, such as avocados, but those rules have now been amended.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has responded to calls from the American Heart Association to allow all raw fruits and vegetables to be given the heart-healthy seal.
Previously, raw fruits or vegetables could not meet the "Dietary Saturated Fat and Cholesterol and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease” health claim if they didn't meet the "low fat" definition or the minimum nutrient content requirement.
Essentially, avocados didn't make the cut for the label but other produce items did, even though they met requirements for “low saturated fat” and “low cholesterol".
Following the FDA's latest amendment, any fruit and vegetable - including avocados - can make the claim.
"This ruling is a huge opportunity for the entire Hass avocado industry, as it confirms that fresh avocados play an important nutritional role in a heart-healthy diet,” said Hass Avocado Board executive director Emiliano Escobedo in a release.
"All fresh Hass avocados have long been recognized for their range of health and wellness benefits, and now we can more directly promote their positive role in a heart-healthy diet."
The HAB said aligning dietary guidance with current nutrition science, the ruling reinforced the large body of science suggesting fruits and vegetables support heart health.
The science includes a study that was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that investigated the potential beneficial effects of eating fresh avocados on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The study found overweight but otherwise healthy adults who incorporated one fresh Hass avocado into the diet daily for five weeks reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels more than a moderate fat diet without avocado or a low fat diet without avocado.
While the study can’t be generalized to all populations, it provides further evidence that avocados may have positive effect on cardiovascular disease biomarkers, the HAB said.
HAB’s Nutrition Research Program, established in 2010, is committed to increasing awareness and improving understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition.