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    Friday, 17 February 2017

    KIND Bar Creator Making Waves in American Food Industry

    Img: Trail Running Blog 
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America made a fatal misstep this week, crushing the toes of an upstanding pillar in the natural food industry. With crosshairs leveled against healthy snack company KIND, the FDA asserted that the amount of saturated fat in their nut-based bars meant that the word “healthy” could not be on their packaging. Several other claims on KIND packaging were called out by the FDA.

    Specifically, the following products were called out:

    William A. Correl of the FDA New York District wrote to the company in April, stating “you may use the term ‘healthy’ as an implied nutrient content claim on the label or in the labeling of a food provided that the food, among other things, is ‘low saturated fat,’” citing 1g of saturated fat as the allowed amount in products labeled healthy. For a health food, the FDA requires food to have a maximum of “15% of calories from saturated fat.”  

    The letter also called out the use of the term “plus,” which KIND uses to indicate a higher nutrient content of vitamins and minerals, namely antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, C and E. However, these do not fall under the FDA’s requirements for the use of that term.  Additionally, it disliked that KIND bars claimed to be a good fibre source without “including the required statement disclosing that the food is not low in total fat in immediate proximity to the claim.” Apparently if a food mentions dietary fibre on the label and is not “low fat” the company must then disclose “the level of total fat per serving.”

    Other small issues were cited by the FDA – not including a proper address, using the term “dairy” instead of the accepted “milk,” citing soy letchin as an allergen – much of which had to do with choosing certain terms in place of accepted industry standard.

    Kind but Firm -

    Img: KIND Snacks
    Daniel Lubetzky, KIND founder and CEO, was incensed by their erroneous stance on nutrition. Before taking any action, the company wrote a letter to their customers addressing the flaws in the FDA’s core regulations concerning fat in foods. Traditionally healthy foods containing good fats (i.e. nuts, salmon, avocado) are not recognised by the FDA as healthy on the basis of the fat content. Deciding the healthfulness of food solely by fat fails to address the nutrient content and beneficial properties of foods. Nut-based KIND bars contain saturated fats from nuts which are known to be full of good fats. All in all, the FDA’s issue with KIND failed to take into account the absence of additives and preservatives, including wholesome ingredients in their place. The regulation cited by the FDA is dated, having been introduced 20 years ago!

    In response to the FDA, KIND drew up a Citizen Petition to challenge the FDA’s notion of healthy. To ensure that it was well-received, help was fielded in the form of nutrition, public health and public policy experts. The petition implores the FDA “to update its regulations around the term healthy when used as a nutrient claim on food labeling to exclude the grams of saturated fat and total fat content in their products that come from nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, whole grains and legumes, in most cases.”

    Since the petition, Lubetzky has personally funded a group to disclose corporate influence in nutrition and food policy. Lubetzky will give $5 million outright and $20 million more over the next decade. His $25 million pledge is going towards the group, Feed the Truth, to back education campaigns and reveal industry-funded “influencers” using investigative journalism.  

    Daniel Lubetzky   - Img: PSFK
    Though responsible for a large chunk of funding, Lubetzky said he will have no part in the group’s choosing or operations: “I don’t want to talk to them. I don’t want to know who they are. I’m not going to forward them articles. The announcement will be done by us. After that, we’re cutting the cord – the decisions will be made by board members I’ve never met.”

    President of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson, will have a hand in choosing board members, as will NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle and former director of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!,” Deborah Eschmeyer.

    Is America addicted to ultra-processed food?   - Img: HellaWella
    America’s food policies and allowable additives to food are worrying when compared to places like England. Where unprocessed foods and real ingredients are a point of pride in the UK, you’d be hard-pressed to find unrefined foods in an American supermarket. Feed the Truth may pave the path towards enlightenment in the country, leading to a healthier, more informed public. 


    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).
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    Item Reviewed: KIND Bar Creator Making Waves in American Food Industry Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Food Safety Co
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