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The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it had settled a fight over claims that a snack bar is “healthy” and agreed to take a fresh look at what “healthy” actually means.
The year-long fight with the makers of Kind Healthy snacks ended with the company agreeing to use “healthy” to define its corporate philosophy, not to make any nutritional claims about its products, the FDA said.
“In our discussions with Kind, we understood the company’s position as wanting to use ‘healthy and tasty’ as part of its corporate philosophy, as opposed to using ‘healthy’ in the context of a nutrient content claim. The FDA evaluates the label as a whole and has indicated that in this instance it does not object,” the agency said in a statement.
In April 2015, the FDA issued a long warning letter to Kind, saying it couldn’t claim its fruit and nut bars were healthy because they contained too much saturated fat and because it described the antioxidant content as healthy despite there being no medical definition to back up the claim.
“Kind satisfactorily addressed the violations contained in the warning letter,” the FDA said Tuesday.
The company asked FDA to take another look at what constitutes “healthy” on a food label.
“The current regulation was established 20 + years ago. Under it foods like nuts, salmon and avocados cannot be labeled as healthy, but items like fat-free pudding and low-fat toaster pastries can,” Kind said in a statement.
FDA says it will.
“Consumers want to make informed food choices and it is the FDA’s responsibility to help them by ensuring labels provide accurate and reliable nutrition information. In light of evolving nutrition research, forthcoming Nutrition Facts Labeling final rules, and a citizen petition, we believe now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term ‘healthy’,” the agency said.
“We plan to solicit public comment on these issues in the near future.”
Kind declared victory.
“Kind is pleased the FDA has changed its stance, but says its work won’t be done until the regulatory definition of healthy has been updated to align with modern science and dietary guidance,” the company said.