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FDA rebukes bakery for claiming ‘love’ as an ingredient in granola

The ingredient list for Massachusetts-based Nashoba Brook Bakery’s granola was normal enough, save for one ingredient. Amid the oats and sweetener was “love.” The subject of nearly every rock-and-roll song, the thing Romeo and Juliet died for, was supposedly in the granola, which was sold at around 120 stores around New England.

The “ingredient” was a nod to the passion bakers put into their product and wink to fans of the snack. As the Concord bakery’s Twitter account shows, the business has a sense of humor.

“I really like that we list ‘love’ in the granola,” Nashoba Chief Executive John Gates told Bloomberg News. “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.”

But the Food and Drug Administration didn’t see it that way. A human emotion, it said, cannot be an ingredient in baked goods.

The FDA published a warning letter to the bakery on Tuesday, which told the bakery to stop claiming that its granola contains love:

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.

Gates said the letter “just felt so George Orwell.”

“Situations like that where the government is telling you you can’t list ‘love’ as an ingredient, because it might be deceptive, just feels so silly,” he told Bloomberg.

While the bakers may have poured love into their granola, they might have gone a little light on care.

The FDA also noted numerous code violations at the bakery, such as a single unspecified one-inch-long “crawling insect” in the pastry area among the “focaccia breads, 7-Grain rolls, and brioche rolls.” It also listed a few mislabeled products and other sanitary violations.

The agency said that the use of “love” as an ingredient was not “among the agency’s top concerns.”

It “expects the company to correct the serious violations found on FDA’s inspection, as noted in the warning letter,” the agency said in a statement to Bloomberg.

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