File under the "learn something new every day" category: The FDA regulates the use of a "+" in food labeling—and says KIND has been using it improperly on two of its snack bars. Bloomberg reports the FDA has taken issue with four KIND bars (list here), stating in a letter sent last month and released yesterday that KIND can't brand them "healthy" because the bars don't "meet the requirements." Among the other terms KIND must stop using on these bars: "anti-oxidant rich," "good source of fiber," "no trans fats," and "+ protein." The FDA is also demanding the company cease labeling the bars as "low in fat," as the bars in question contain up to five times the amount of saturated fat—1 gram per serving—the agency allows in products that use the term "healthy."
In response, KIND yesterday posted an entry on its blog explaining, "Our team at KIND is fully committed to working alongside the FDA, and we're moving quickly to comply with its request." But the company does go on the defensive in the post, stating the bars' fat levels are due to a key ingredient, nuts, which "like avocados, salmon, and eggs" are good for you but don't meet the FDA's "healthy" parameters. Harvard nutritionist Dr. Walter Willet is sympathetic to KIND. Speaking to the Huffington Post, he calls the FDA's move "an example of something with good intentions based on concepts that are hugely obsolete. ... It’s a bit ridiculous that saturated fat from nuts should be counted against a product" considering what a healthy food choice nuts are. Indeed, recent studies have been saying just that.