NFPA / NFI Notify FDA of Dietary Guidance Label Statements on Fish and Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

( Washington , D.C. ) – The National Food Processors Association (NFPA) and the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have sought FDA’s acknowledgement of and support for dietary guidance label statements on the benefits of diets rich in fish to reduce the risk of heart disease.

To assist food manufacturers in incorporating accurate, substantiated dietary guidance statements in fish product labeling, NFPA and NFI have developed the following model dietary guidance statements:

NFPA and NFI noted “This model language is parallel to that employed by FDA in the dietary guidance message, ‘Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.’ We request that FDA inform the public about these dietary guidance messages, and assist in encouraging food manufacturers to include dietary guidance messages about fish and reduced risk of heart disease in food labeling.”

“We believe that these dietary guidance messages will help promote healthful diets and reduce the risk of heart disease, through broad application to labeling of fish products and through consumer education.” said John R. Cady, NFPA’s President and CEO.

“It has been widely recognized by national and international authoritative scientific and governmental public health bodies – including FDA, the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – that dietary practices incorporating regular fish product consumption into the diet both promote heart health and may reduce the risk of heart disease,” NFPA and NFI said. “This linkage between diets rich in fish and reducing the risk of heart disease also is noted in the U.S. Government’s Dietary Guidelines for American .”

Dietary guidance messages are designed to communicate the link between certain food groups and risk of chronic disease. According to FDA, “Truthful and non-misleading general ‘dietary guidance’ statements can … be made on food labels without FDA review. These statements, unlike health claims which target a specific substance and a certain disease, focus instead on general dietary patterns, practices, and recommendations that promote health.” The letter from NFPA and NFI shares with FDA the basis for the dietary guidance statements in the labeling of fish products, and requests FDA to carry out consumer education activities concerning such dietary guidance.

“We look forward to working with FDA on ways to get this important dietary guidance information to consumers, through educational outreach activities and on food labels,” Cady noted. “Including responsible dietary guidance messages on the labels of specific food products – in ways that are meaningful to consumers in the real world – can help consumers make the food choices necessary to establish health practices and patterns of food consumption.”