On Wednesday, March 22, IBWA members and staff hit the Hill to meet with several Members of Congress to promote healthy hydration policies. Derieth Sutton and Matt Foley with Niagara Bottling, LLC, and Lou Vittorio with Primo Water North America, met with 10 congressional offices to promote allowing use of the term "healthy" on bottled water labels and adding a water symbol to the MyPlate informational graphic.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed new regulations impacting the ability of food and beverage producers to use the term "healthy" on labeling. Currently, bottled water is not allowed to use this term as water does not have enough nutrients to meet minimum standards required to be labeled as healthy. In FDA's proposed rule, bottled water would be allowed to use the term "healthy" although FDA has concerns about the impact to consumer perception of tap water. IBWA submitted comments encouraging FDA to move forward with allowing bottled water to be labeled as healthy as our products do not compete with tap water; public water systems can currently market their water as healthy; and we view any promotion of water to promote all types of water. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI) and David Scott (D-GA) agree and will soon ask other Members of Congress to support a letter encouraging FDA to move forward with allowing bottled water to be labeled as healthy.
Regarding MyPlate, water is not currently represented on this key graphic used to promote a healthy diet. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans strongly encourage the consumption of water as part of a healthy diet, thus IBWA has been urging the inclusion of a water icon on the MyPlate graphic for years. Almost 80 Members of Congress urged its inclusion as well in a late 2019 letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), and IBWA will continue to work with USDA, HHS, and Congress to encourage adding a water icon to MyPlate.
The next IBWA fly in will occur on Wednesday, June 7, as part of the Annual Hill Day. More information on how to register to participate in this Hill Day event will be available soon.