KIND Snacks, with support from nutrition and public health experts, has filed a Citizen Petition urging the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to update its regulations around using the term “healthy” in food labeling.
Currently, the FDA mandates that the term “healthy” only be used as a nutrient content claim reserved for foods with 3 grams or less total fat and 1 gram or less of saturated fat per serving. Fish and meat must have 5g or less total fat and 3g or less saturated fat per serving in order to use healthy as a nutrition content claim. This guideline was established over 20 years ago and KIND Founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky claims that it’s outdated, excluding whole, nutrient-rich foods we know to have numerous health benefits like almonds, salmon, olive oil and avocados because of their naturally occurring higher fat content.
The policy effort, which cites evidence from multiple nutrition studies in addition to current federal Dietary Guidelines, is supported by a number of leading health and wellness experts including Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and Connie Diekman, Registered Dietitian and former President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The petition comes after KIND snacks received a letter from the FDA on March 17, 2019 notifying them they are violating the current “healthy” label rules with some of their bars. According to the FDA’s letter, there were four flavors of KIND bars, including KIND Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, that exceeded the fat content allowed in order for “healthy” to appear on the label when the agency reviewed them in August 2019. The FDA also took issue with KIND’s use of the plus sign on some of its food products, which it uses to highlight bars with extra antioxidants, fiber or protein, but according to the FDA, in order to use the symbol or word “plus,” the bar must contain 10 percent more of the nutrients than a bar the FDA has deemed representative of the snack bar category.
KIND bars high fat content comes primarily from nuts, which experts agree are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. KIND thinks its bars are plenty healthy enough to use “healthy” as a nutrient claim on its labels and wants the rules changed to reflect that a higher fat content does not automatically eliminate you as a healthy food option.