The Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord, Massachusetts, claims to add a generous helping of love to every batch of granola it makes. Until recently this was evident in the label's list of ingredients, but now customers will just have to take their word for it. As Bloomberg reports, the business is under fire from the FDA for including “love” as a key component on nutrition labels.
In September, the federal agency wrote to the bakery’s owners warning them to remove any “intervening material” from their ingredients lists. “Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient ‘Love,’” the letter reads. “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.”
Nashoba’s Chief Executive Office John Gates told Bloomberg that the notice gave him an Orwellian vibe. “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 said.
Making sure each word on a food package has a clear meaning is one of the trickier responsibilities that falls to the FDA. Considering that the agency struggles to define terms like “natural” and “sandwich,” banning “love” was likely a no-brainer.
But the metaphysical ingredient on the packaging wasn’t the only issue the FDA took with the bakery. They also found that Nashoba, which provides goods to about 120 stores in New England, was preparing food in “insanitary conditions.” According to the FDA, the cleanliness concerns take precedent over the word “love” on the label. The bakery plans to respond to all of the group’s notes in a timely manner, but still disagrees with the request to do away with their granola’s sentimental ingredient.