FDA Rules Labels on Foods With Olive Oil Can Make Health Benefit Claims
FDA on Tuesday ruled that labels on food containing olive oil can state that it might reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The FDA-approved label states that "limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil."
The North American Olive Oil Association, which filed for a qualified health claim in August, submitted 88 studies to FDA and originally wanted the claim for one tablespoon of olive oil. Most of the studies taken into consideration by FDA were discounted due to methodology; a dozen were used to determine the qualified health claim. In one study, 33 healthy, young U.S. males ate diets high in saturated fats, olive oil's monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats. The study found that men who ate the monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats had significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol.
In addition, recent research on Mediterranean diets high in unsaturated fats has found the foods included in such diets provide heart benefits. According to research published in September in the Journal of the American Medical Association, mortality rates declined more than 50% among elderly Europeans who had such diets and led healthy lifestyles.
NAOOA President Bob Bauer said, "It's good news for consumers. Olive oil is a healthy product to help them fight heart disease." FDA Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford said in a prepared statement, "Since CHD is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States, it is a public health priority to make sure that consumers have accurate and useful information on reducing their risk."
This is the third time since March that FDA has granted a conventional food a qualified health claim (Henderson, AP/Contra Costa Times, 11/2).