The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed an update to the criteria for using ‘healthy’ labels on food packaging.

The agency said that the proposed rule will be in line with present nutrition science, the Nutrition Facts label and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Under the prospective new rule, food products advertised as ’healthy‘ would need to contain a ‘meaningful‘ amount of food from one of the food groups or subgroups suggested by Dietary Guidelines.

These food groups and subgroups include fruits, vegetables and dairy.

In addition, products would need to meet particular limits on some nutrients such as sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.

These limits vary for each food and food group and would be based on the percentage of the nutrient’s daily value.

The proposed rule aims to better account for how nutrients in various food groups contribute and work together to create healthy dietary patterns and improve health.

FDA commissioner Robert M Califf said: “Diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, are the leading causes of death and disability in the US and disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minority groups.

“Today’s action is an important step toward accomplishing a number of nutrition-related priorities, which include empowering consumers with information to choose healthier diets and establishing healthy eating habits early. It can also result in a healthier food supply.”

The new proposal is part of FDA’s ongoing efforts to improve nutrition and dietary patterns in the US.

More than 80% of the country’s citizens have been found to consume ‘excessive amounts’ of added sugars, saturated fat and sodium, but not enough vegetables, fruit and dairy.

The plans also follow the release of a related national strategy that aims to eliminate hunger, improve nutrition, reduce diet-related diseases and close disparity gaps by 2030.