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Citizens Petition To Require FDA to Designate Eggs as “Healthy”


Jesse Laflamme, CEO of Pete and Gerry’s Organics is to be complimented on his initiative to file a citizens petition with the FDA to amend the definition of “healthy”. The FDA considers that eggs are too high in total and saturated fat and cholesterol to be designated “healthy” by food processors. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services consider eggs to be a part of a “healthy diet”.

Current knowledge of nutrition has proven that dietary cholesterol does not raise serum cholesterol to any appreciable degree in consumers without a genetic predisposition to hypercholesterolemia. The petition filed by Jesse Laflamme emphasizes the nutritional value of eggs and the contribution of Vitamin D and choline. Nutritionally enriched eggs achieved through dietary supplementation have even higher nutrient values. This is the basis of the success of Eggland’s Best LLC, a producer cooperative which dominates the specialty egg segment.

The role of eggs in diets is now accepted with companies such as Weight Watchers International, Inc., adding eggs to the range of foods members can consume without the need for dietary tracking. This concession is based on the nutrient value of eggs and a contribution to satiety.

In a statement, the FDA stated that the definition of healthy is undergoing review and the Agency is considering “a large body of information and analyses”. The FDA may be out of step with current knowledge of nutrition and is apparently still under the influence of the studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s which demonized fat. Subsequent investigations have revealed that many of the trials were directly supported by associations and companies marketing sugar and sugar-containing products introducing bias and distortion.

The difference in approach between the FDA and federal departments with respect to eggs is further evidence of incoordination and suggests that consumers would be better served by a single Food Agency staffed by experts with a commitment to safety, quality and nutrition.