MFA Packaging Symbols
To help our MFA members designate their qualifying products as belonging to the Mediterranean Diet, Oldways has created two “search tools” to use on your packaging, on marketing materials or online content:
1. The original symbol – the Med Mark
Since its inception in June, 2007, the original Med Mark symbol* can be found on over 150 healthy Mediterranean product packages your whole family will enjoy. The distinctive orange and black imagery is identifiable at a glance and offers a reliable beacon for consumers across brands.
2. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid symbol
Created in 1993, the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is now a four-color symbol for use on qualifying MFA member products This miniature yet immediately recognizable version of the pyramid was designed to help consumers make an immediate connection that the product aligns with one of the world’s healthiest diets.
Every product that bears either Mediterranean symbol must meet nutrition criteria based on findings from Ancel Keys' famous Seven Countries Study, a hallmark study of the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. The criteria are also consistent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) definition of "healthy." All foods and drinks included in the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid – with the exception of those in the top section – are eligible to display a Mediterranean packaging symbol as long as they are sold in their minimally-processed state, and are consistent with their traditional form. Other healthy foods that may not have existed years ago may also be eligible if they meet the criteria described in the flow chart shown here, and also meet the program’s health thresholds shown below.
To be eligible to use either symbol, processed foods (products not sold in their natural, minimally processed state) must be within all of the following limits (per serving):
- Artificial trans fats: limit of zero grams (no added trans fats in any amount)
- Saturated fat: limit of 8 percent of total calories from saturated fat **
- Sodium: limit of 480 milligrams (for individual food) or 600 milligrams of sodium (for meal-type products) ***
- Added sugars: limit of 4 grams (or about 1 teaspoon)
* The MedMark symbol was designed by Sue Godel. ** Ancel Keys, Seven Countries Studies *** FDA standard for “healthy”