Sam Gazdziak spoke with Cheryl Hendricks, Director of Strategic Account Management and Program Execution for NCBA, about the new developments between the Beef Checkoff Program and the American Heart Association.


Sam Gazdziak: We're here with Cheryl Hendricks of the NCBA. So, Cheryl, could you tell me a little bit about the new developments between the Beef Checkoff and the American Heart Association.

Cheryl Hendricks: I'm a registered dietitian and I have the opportunity to work on behalf of the Beef Checkoff to support retail and food service operators. And, extending the nutrition message is part of what we do to help consumers understand that beef is a good choice and can be fit into a healthy, heart healthy, diet. By certifying with the American Heart Association's food certification program, we've been able to identify, recently, we just added extra lean ground beef. So, we now have eight cuts that has a trade association certification that can carry the logo. The heart check logo, which is one of the most recognized food logos, for selecting a heart healthy food item that is in existence today. There's over 900 products that retailers can use to certify on food and help their shoppers select food when they're choosing food for their family. So, by certifying with the heart association, the food meets the requirements set by the FDA. Which is an authorized health claim, which means it's science-based evidence has proven that controlling saturated fat and cholesterol as part of your intake can aid in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Gazdziak: Okay. Now, there are a lot labels and a lot of claims on labels. What is the AHA claim and the heart check label? What does that mean for consumers?

Hendricks: What that means is when that claim is on a package, the shopper knows that it meets, not only government regulations, but the American Heart Association's criteria for what has been scientifically proven to be of benefit when consuming as part of a healthy diet. So, it helps people make good food choices. And, beef is part of that healthy diet plan. By following the heart health program from the AHA, extra lean beef is, per serving has less than five total grams of fat and less than two grams of saturated fat. So, it's a very good choice for somebody that's trying to control their fat intake and to help prevent coronary heart disease.