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Hawai‘i Macadamia Nuts Declared ‘Heart Healthy’ by FDA

July 31, 2017, 8:04 AM HST · Updated July 31, 8:06 AM
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Certain Hawai‘i macadamia nut products are now eligible to display an FDA health endorsement on their labels. The Food and Drug Administration approved a petition submitted by the Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation that declares eating macadamia nuts can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease under certain circumstances.

Maui Gourmet Popcorn sells several products made with macadamia nuts including macadamia nut brittle. Photo courtesy of Made in Maui County Festival.

Advocates say the ruling will directly benefit Hawaiʻi’s agricultural community and helps cement the macadamia nut’s place as one of the state’s most valued exports.

After a nearly two-year wait, the Hawaiʻi Congressional Delegation wrote to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on June 26 urging him to expedite review of the petition.

“The FDA ruling will directly benefit Hawaiʻi’s agricultural community,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. “Macadamia nuts are one of Hawaiʻi’s most well-known foods, and today’s ruling allows farmers to better market macadamia nut products by educating consumers of their health benefits.”

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“This is great news for Hawaiʻi’s macadamia nut producers and our local economy,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “This ruling lifts a cloud of uncertainty off the industry and helps cement the macadamia nut’s place as one of our state’s most valued exports.”

“I am thrilled to see the FDA recognize the health benefits of one of Hawaii’s most famous crops,” said Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01). “This is good news for Hawaiʻi and those of us, like me, who eat Macadamia Nuts on a regular basis.”

“People in Hawaiʻi have long recognized the benefits of macadamia nuts for our overall health and wellbeing,” said Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “This decision is an important step to strengthening our local macadamia industry, increasing its potential for growth, and confirming that like other tree nuts, macadamia nuts can offer a great contribution to a healthy diet.”

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The petition was submitted by Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc., but will apply to certain macadamia nut products, regardless of manufacturer.

Under the new guidelines, certain macadamia nut products can carry the following statement:

“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. See nutrition information for fat [and calorie] content.”

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