Kind Snacks petitions FDA to define 'healthy'

Kind Snacks petitions FDA to define 'healthy'
© KINDSnacks

Kind Snacks wants the Food and Drug Administration to define the term “healthy.”

The New York-based natural foods company announced Tuesday that it had filed a citizens petition to get the agency to update its 25-year old regulation for when the term “healthy” can be used as a nutrient content claim in food labeling.

In April, the FDA ordered the company to stop claiming its fruit and nut bars are "healthy." The agency said the products — 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 — failed to meet the requirements to be labeled as such. The bars, the FDA said, exceed the saturated fat and calories from saturated fat allowed to be considered low in saturated fat.

The agency mandates that the word “healthy” be used only to describe individual foods that contain 3 grams or less total fat and 1 gram or less of saturated fat per serving, with the exception of fish and meat, which are required by the regulation to have 5 grams or less total fat and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving.

Kind Snacks argues that the mandate precludes nutrient-rich foods like nuts, avocados, olives and salmon from using the term "healthy" as a nutrient content claim even though the federal dietary guidelines recommend Americans eat less meat and more fish and nuts.

“Our goal is to highlight the importance of following a healthy diet that includes foods made with wholesome and nutrient-dense ingredients,” Daniel Lubetzky, the company’s founder and CEO, said in a news release.

“The current regulations were created with the best intentions when the available science supported dietary recommendations limiting total fat intake," he said. "However, current science tells us that the unsaturated fats in nutrient-dense foods like nuts, seeds and certain fish are beneficial to overall health.”

A number of nutritionists and health experts joined the company’s petition.