KIND Bars are 'Healthy' (Again), FDA Seeks to Redefine Healthy Foods

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The FDA is allowing the KIND bar to use the word "healthy" on its label, just over a year after the agency issued a warning letter challenging the use of the word on KIND bar packaging given amount of saturated fat contained in the bars.

"You should take prompt action to correct the violations," William A. Correll of the FDA New York District wrote in April of last year. "Failure to promptly correct the violations may result in regulatory action without further notice, including seizure and/or injunction."

The company created a petition in support of a change in policy in December and was notified on May 10 that it can once again use the term “healthy” on its packaging.

“At KIND, 'healthy' has always been more than just a word on a label, so when we were asked to remove the term from our wrappers, it cut to the core of who we are,” said Daniel Lubetzky, Founder & CEO of KIND. “While we’re pleased the FDA affirmed that KIND can put healthy back on our wrappers, just as we had it before, it doesn’t change what always has been and will remain our focus – to create delicious snacks made with wholesome ingredients.”

The regulation cited by the FDA in the original letter is more than 20 years old and states that snack foods labeled “healthy” cannot contain more than 3g total fat or 1g saturated fat per serving. KIND argued that the regulation discriminated against certain high-fat foods that are nevertheless healthy, such as nuts, avocado, and salmon, while creating incentives for companies to create low-fat options that may be less nutrient-dense.

“The current regulatory definition of healthy is inconsistent with federal guidelines and scientific research, as today we know it’s advisable to prioritize eating whole foods, including nuts, plants, whole grains and seafood,” said David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, who has served as a nutrition adviser to KIND.

“I applaud KIND for entering the policy conversation, their commitment to public health, and their appropriate focus on food over nutrients. I applaud the FDA, as well, for acknowledging that sometimes, companies get it right, while regulations, however well intended, can fall out of date.”

The FDA is currently addressing a redefinition of the term “healthy.”

"We believe now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term 'healthy,'" FDA spokeswoman Lauren Kotwicki told USA Today.

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KIND bar image via Shutterstock

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