Kind Bars Can Now Be Labeled "Healthy" Again, Says FDA

Photo: Courtesy of KIND.
Update: Just over a year after the FDA told Kind to remove the "healthy" label from its packaging, the agency reversed its decision, Fortune reports. However, Kind is only allowed to use the label in reference to its corporate philosophy — not as a "nutrient claim," says Fortune. And, separately, the FDA is also now re-evaluating exactly what it considers to be "healthy," thanks in part to a Citizen Petition that Kind filed after the 2015 decision. To learn more about the original controversy, continue to our previous article below.

This article was originally published on April 14, 2015.

"There’s healthy. There’s tasty. Then, there’s healthy and tasty." That's how Kind describes its products on its site — and we've been known to reach for plenty of those convenient and delicious bars to stave off afternoon hunger or to fuel a workout session. But now, the FDA is weighing in, saying that Kind bars may not be so healthy after all. The FDA sent a letter to the company last month (and it just went public today) warning that four of Kind's bars do not comply with FDA labeling requirements and therefore cannot bear the “healthy” label.

The four bars in question are 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.

One of the reasons the FDA is calling them out (you can read the full list of reasons here) is for having too much saturated fat — according to FDA regulations, a “healthy” product must have less than one gram of saturated fat per serving. These four Kind bars each contain 2.5-5 grams. While that number may be considered unhealthy by the FDA, it's important to note that all of the bars in question are made with nuts, which contain a variety of fats, including some saturated fat. In a note posted to the brand's website, Kind explained that nut consumption has been seen to lead to a longer life, and the New York Times deemed nuts a “nutritional powerhouse.” But, those benefits don’t sway FDA regulations.

According to the letter from the FDA, Kind LLC had 15 days to issue a reply — which it did. Now, Kind must change its labels or risk having the FDA pull the products from store shelves.

"Our team at Kind is fully committed to working alongside the FDA, and we’re moving quickly to comply with its request," Joe Cohen, SVP of communications at Kind told us. "In addition to the four bars that the FDA identified, we’re also taking it upon ourselves to conduct a thorough review of all of our snack food labels to ensure that they’re compliant.”

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