DALLAS — The American Heart Association is expanding its Heart-Check Food Certification Program to allow certification of more foods with the healthier fats, including fish, nuts and other foods higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Additionally, the A.H.A. said it is revising sodium allowances and implementing screening guidelines to limit added sugars and promote dietary fiber in certified products.
To allow time for reformulation, the changes are expected to take effect in 2014.
“With these enhancements, the Heart-Check program will help consumers easily identify and choose even more heart-healthy foods for themselves and their families,” said Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., the Bickford Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont and an American Heart Association spokeswoman. “The Heart-Check program brings benefits to those companies invested in the health of their consumers. Not only does it add a level of credibility and trust that other programs don’t bring, but certification aligns food products with a leading heart-health organization.”
The A.H.A. said it also is changing the look of the Heart-Check mark. The new look will offer more simplified language and strengthen visibility on a product’s package.
The Heart-Check mark was established in 1995 to give consumers an easy, reliable system for identifying heart-healthy foods as a first step in building a sensible eating plan. Nearly 900 products that bear the Heart-Check mark have been screened and verified by the association to meet criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. For more information visit www.heartcheckmark.org.