Why The FDA Action Against KIND Bars Doesn’t Mean They’re Unhealthy

KIND Snacks, the company behind fruit, nut and grain bars (tag line: “ingredients you can see & pronounce”) have been asked by the Food and Drug Administration to strip any mention of the term “healthy” from its packaging and website, as well as the “+” symbol.

Why? It turns out that the FDA actually regulates which packaged foods get to use the word “healthy” and the symbol “+” for marketing purposes. Though these terms sound squishy in everyday use, they actually have very specific nutritional meanings when it comes to food regulation.

A letter explaining all of the FDA’s objections was posted on the agency’s website Tuesday. For one, the term “healthy” means that the product has one gram or less of saturated fat, and that no more than 15 percent of the calories are from saturated fat. The FDA has identified at least four bars — Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, Kind Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, and Kind Plus Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants — that contain 2.5 grams or more of saturated fat per bar.

Use of the symbol “+” for the bars Kind Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein and Kind Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants is also a violation, according to the FDA. Officially, use of the symbol “+” means that the food contains at least 10 percent more of the daily recommended intake for vitamins and minerals as compared to an appropriate reference food, or that the food is fortified with vitamins and nutrients in accordance with certain FDA policies. The KIND bars comply with neither, states the FDA letter. It also brings up concerns over claims about antioxidants, fiber, the lack of trans fat, and various —> Read More