FDA Reverses Stance on Kind's Use of 'Healthy' on Labels

May 10, 2016
Approval came on a technicality, but bigger discussion of 'healthy' fats continues.

Kind Healthy Snacks today (May 10) said it was notified by the FDA that it can resume using the term "healthy" on its packaging – mostly the results of semantics, but partly an acknowledgement that some fats can be good fats.

The agency sent Kind a warning letter in March 2015 requesting removal of the word healthy from the back panel of four product wrappers and its web site. The regulation cited states in part that snack foods labeled with healthy as a nutrient content claim can’t have more than 3g of total fat or 1g of saturated fat per serving. Nuts, a primary ingredient in Kind bars, contain nutritious fats that exceed those amounts.

While the company initially responded by removing "healthy" from the four wrappers, it maintained that its usage wasn’t a nutrient content claim – that's the technicality. The FDA has since agreed its usage is permissible under the current rules.

In examining the regulation, which was established more than two decades ago, Kind learned that it precludes foods generally considered to be good for you – like nuts, avocados and salmon – from being labeled as healthy. However, it allows items like fat-free chocolate pudding, some sugar-sweetened cereals and low-fat toaster pastries to carry the "healthy" designation.

As a result, Kind in December 2015 filed a Citizen Petition urging the FDA to update its requirements related to the term healthy to emphasize the importance of eating real foods and nutrient-dense ingredients as part of healthy eating patterns.

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