The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will examine whether soy protein can claim on its packaging that it reduces heart disease risk, according to CNN Monday.
“We are proposing a rule to revoke a health claim for soy protein and heart disease,” read a statement from Susan Mayne, director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “For the first time, we have considered it necessary to propose a rule to revoke a health claim because numerous studies published since the claim was authorized in 1999 have presented inconsistent findings on the relationship between soy protein and heart disease.”
Authorized health claims are messaging allowed by the FDA for certain foods that meet a standard called significant scientific agreement. This means that if there is enough scientific evidence that a food will help with a disease or health-related condition such as high blood pressure, then food may have packaging that indicates as such. Foods high in calcium and vitamin D, for example, can be labeled that they reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
The FDA feels that the science linking soy protein and heart disease risk is not conclusive enough.
“The totality of currently available scientific evidence calls into question the certainty of this relationship,” said Mayne.
Since it began the labeling in 1990, the FDA has only made 12 authorized health claims.
The FDA has a separate labeling designation called qualified health claims that soy protein may end up qualifying for. Qualified health claims aren’t as rigorous and are couched in a way to convey to the consumer the level of scientific support that the claim has. One example of a qualified health claim is that “Vitamin C may reduce the risk of lung cancer.” The FDA states that the “scientific evidence supporting this claim is convincing, but not conclusive.”