Kind Bars Ask the FDA, “What Is Healthy?”

(Image credit: flickr)

You’re standing in the checkout aisle of the grocery store and have to choose the healthiest item between a package of Pop-Tarts and a Kind bar. Chances are you go with the fruit- and nut-filled bar. Ask that question of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and you’d get a different answer.

Earlier this year, the FDA issued a warning letter asking the company to remove the word “healthy” from their packaging, citing that the products such as Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot and Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut “bear statements suggesting that the product may be useful in maintaining healthy dietary practices,” although they meet none of the requirements for the nutrient content claim of health, specifically being low in saturated fat. You can thank the almonds for that.

After a few public displays of bewilderment, the company conceded — although not for long. On December 1, Kind bars filed a citizen petition calling for the FDA to redefine its definition of healthy, which, unlike the highly unregulated term “natural,” has a definition. While this definition is broken into specific conditionals for particular foods, the prevailing requirement is low fat. Some would argue this definition of “healthy” is dated and fails to embrace new understandings about the quality of the fats in our diets.

The Atlantic goes on to suggest that despite Kind bars’ call for changing the definition of “healthy,” their prohibitive cost still makes them less than recommendable. At roughly $1.99 a pop, “the bar results from the gluing together of roughly 50 cents-worth of mixed nuts by sugars of various names, and spices totaling some cents in value.” Their saving grace, if you will, comes in the form of their health halo — that virtuous feeling that results from choosing the “healthier” choice.

Read more: Kind Bars to U.S. Government: Redefine ‘Healthy’ from The Atlantic