US FDA approves qualified macadamia health claim

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced its approval for the use of a qualified health claim by manufacturers linking macadamia consumption with a reduced risk for coronary heart disease.

The announcement is a significant win for the global macadamia industry, and particularly macadamia producers with interests in the United States. The claim was given the go-ahead following the FDA’s systematic review of the available scientific data, and applies to raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, and flavoured macadamia nuts, both whole and chopped.

The FDA had already approved a qualified health claim relating to the consumption of other tree nuts, however this is the first time a macadamia-specific health claim has been permitted.

As a ‘qualified’ health claim, it is accompanied by qualifying language to ensure it accurately reflects the level of supporting scientific evidence.

The claim reads:

“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. See nutrition information for fat [and calorie] content.”

The claim was approved in response to a petition filed by Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc in 2015, and reflects the growing global understanding of the health benefits of macadamias. It comes just a few months after producers of nut products in Australia and New Zealand found that under certain conditions, they may now be eligible to communicate that nuts are heart-healthy on product packaging and in advertising direct to consumers.

To read the full media release from the US FDA, go here.

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