Rally Around Immunity: The Produce Powerhouse


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the label claims fruit and vegetable marketers can use to promote their products. These are found on the FDA’s website. The Newark, DE-headquartered Produce Marketing Association also offers a Nutrition Labeling Guide on its website.

However, in a nutshell of what not to do as well as what produce marketers can do, Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, president and chief executive officer of the Brentwood, MO-based Produce for Better Health Foundation, shares this: “Food labeling regulations, which also apply to advertising and traditional and social media, allow for claims highlighting foods that are good or excellent sources of key nutrients, such as vitamin C or zinc. Additionally, statements of fact, such as the exact amount of vitamin C in one serving of a product, are allowed. Structure-function claims, which relate a nutrient to a structure or function in the body, are allowed but must be specific and based on evidence-based science.”

She continues, “Currently, there are no approved health claims that relate a nutrient to prevention or treatment of a health condition for immunity; food companies should avoid any suggestion that a food or nutrient can prevent or treat COVID-19 or ‘boost’ or ‘enhance’ the immune system. Messaging such as fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, which comes from federal dietary guidance, is a great way to promote the important role of fruits and vegetables in healthy eating habits that also support immune health.”