The apparently romanceless suits at the FDA have taken a stand against grandma’s meatloaf, childhood bake sales, and bags of one Massachusetts baking company’s granola. Yesterday, the agency issued Nashoba Brook Bakery in Concord — a business with a four-star-or-better rating on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook — a warning letter ordering the company to stop claiming “love” is an actual ingredient in its rolled-oat breakfast product. Nashoba says the ingredient is a wink to how committed its bakers are to making that fine product. “People ask us what makes it so good,” CEO John Gates explains to Bloomberg News. “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.”
A Nicholas Sparks character would no doubt agree with that sentiment, but the FDA? Not so much. Human emotions can’t be ingredients in baked goods, it counters:
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.
The bakery argues that it’s not confusing anyone, and that the FDA’s claim about its ingredient list being deceptive feels “silly” and “so George Orwell.”
That said, all the time Nashoba bakers spend pouring metaphorical love into their products still might be better utilized with a broom: The FDA dings the bakery for several other health-code violations as well — like mislabeled products, an inch-long “crawling insect” among the focaccia, and “what appeared to be remaining residue of flour buildup” on the floor. It points out that Nashoba’s humorous granola ingredient was ultimately “not among the agency’s top concerns.”