Where’s the Love? It Better Not Be in Your Food, Says FDA

Where’s the Love? Not in Your Food, Says FDA
iStock/Tom Merton

If you’re an avid food label reader, you’ve likely stumbled across an often-used ingredient that’s both fundamental and yet completely non-essential. Scores of brands have used “made with love” or listed “love” as an outright ingredient on food labels, particularly in natural and organic foods, as well as some beauty products. But according to a warning letter the FDA sent to a bakery last month, love is not an actual ingredient and shouldn’t be listed as one.

Late last month, the FDA cited Massachusetts’ Nashoba Brook Bakery for several health code violations including failure to prevent the spread of microorganisms and improper sanitization of baking tools. But it also took aim at the company’s ingredient listing.

“’Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient,” the FDA wrote in its warning letter. “Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name.”

The company’s CEO John Gates told Bloomberg the FDA’s comments felt “so George Orwell.”

While Nashoba says it will comply with the FDA’s request, Gates says having to do so is a great disappointment for the 20-year-old company and its 75 employees.

“I really like that we list ‘love’ in the granola,” Gates told Bloomberg. “People ask us what makes it so good. It’s kind of nice that this artisan bakery can say there’s love in it and it puts a smile on people’s face. Situations like that where the government is telling you you can’t list ‘love’ as an ingredient, because it might be deceptive, just feels so silly.”

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.