The Most Absurd Labeling Rule

The Lempert Report
November 07, 2017

Doesn’t the FDA have better things to do?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent what has been called a less-than-affectionate warning letter to the Nashoba Brooks bakery in Massachusetts, defining “love.” 

To quote from the letter, “Your Nashoba Granola and Whole Wheat Bread (wholesale and retail) products are misbranded within the meaning of [the law] because they are fabricated from two or more ingredients, but the labels fail to bear a complete list of all the ingredients by common or usual name. Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient “Love.” Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name. “Love” is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.” 

This stuff is what a major PR win looks like. John Gates, the bakery’s CEO told Bloomberg that the FDA’s letter felt Orwellian and silly. “I really like that we list ‘love’ in the granola. People ask us what makes it so good. It’s kind of nice that this artisan bakery can say there’s love in it and it puts a smile on people’s face.” 

Who ever heard of this company before this? I’m sure sales have increased and fighting with the monolith called the FDA will only help. Who can argue with “love”? But there is one problem. The bakery’s facilities fell short of sanitation requirements and failed inspection according to the FDA’s complaint.