FDA and KIND Bars disagree on what counts as ‘healthy’


KIND snacks may have a higher amount of saturated fat than the FDA would like, but the nutritional value can be measured in other ways (Photo credit: Molly Schwalm).

When looking for a healthy snack, fruit and nut bars usually seem like a good option, especially when they are labeled ‘healthy’.  This label, though, has been called into question by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  While the food company KIND considers its snacks to be healthy, the FDA disagrees.

In March, the FDA sent a letter to KIND concerning four varieties of their energy bars: Almond & Apricot, Almond & Coconut, Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate + Protein, and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants.  These bars currently have the label ‘healthy’ on them, but the FDA stated that the bars do not fit the requirements for a ‘healthy’ label, and threatened to remove them from stores or to seek a court order if the labels are not removed.

The FDA requires that a product have less than one gram of saturated fat to display the ‘healthy’ label. KIND bars have up to as much as three and a half grams.  KIND notified consumers of the FDA warning via a post on its website and stated that there are no safety issues with the bars. KIND also said it is working on changing the labels on the four bars.  KIND insisted that it is still dedicated to producing healthy snacks, despite what the FDA considers healthy.

“Nuts, key ingredients in many of our snacks and one of the things that make fans love our bars, contain nutritious fats that exceed the amount allowed under the FDA’s standard,” KIND stated on its website. “This is similar to other foods that do not meet the standard for use of the term healthy, but are generally considered to be good for you like avocados, salmon and eggs.”

It also included links for consumers to research the health benefits of nuts.

With this response, KIND may have called the legitimacy of the FDA’s health-standards into question.