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An Australian perspective on clean dietary labels: Commentary on Negowetti et al. (2021)

Australia

Sep 30, 2021

Clean eating is an increasingly popular diet trend in Western countries with links to disordered eating behaviors. However, the definition of clean is a highly contentious issue. Negowetti, Ambwani, Karr, Rodgers, and Austin explore this important issue from a U.S. perspective conducting a scoping review of the public health implications of the use of clean labels on food, including legal and policy implications. The review showed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken little action to address regulation of the use of clean dietary labels. Our own brief investigations suggest that the landscape in Australia under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand authority is similar. We discuss recommendations made by Negowetti et al. to address this issue in the United States, such as the FDA providing industry guidance on the term clean, and the issuing of warning letters to companies who contravene this guidance. However, we predict that educating consumers to be more critical of unsubstantiated food labels in public health campaigns will be the most efficient way to change consumer behavior and address the clean eating diet trend. We also encourage eating disorder researchers and clinicians to be an influential part of this discussion.

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