Some KIND bars not so 'healthy', says FDA

KIND, makers of fruit and grain bars, must stop calling at least four of its snacks "healthy," the Food and Drug Administration told the company in a recent warning letter made public this week.

According federal standards, the term “healthy” means that the product has one gram or less of saturated fat, and that no more than 15 percent of the calories are from saturated fat.

At least four bars -- KIND Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, KIND Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, KIND Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, and KIND Plus Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants -- contain anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5g of saturated fat per 40g, according the the FDA.

The FDA also called out KIND, LLC for other mislabeling issues, including claims about antioxidants, fiber, the lack of trans fat, and the use of the “+” sign on its packaging.

The FDA says that KIND’s Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants is a violation because “+” means that the food contains at least 10 percent more of the daily recommended intake for vitamins and minerals, or that the food is fortified with vitamins and nutrients.

In response, the company said that nuts, high in fat, made it the target of the FDA

"Nuts, key ingredients in many of our snacks and one of the things that make fans love our bars, contain nutritious fats that exceed the amount allowed under the FDA's standard," said KIND spokesman Joe Cohen. "There is an overwhelming body of scientific evidence supporting that nuts are wholesome and nutritious."

KIND is a popular snack among health conscious consumers and, while up against packaged food giants General Mills and Kellogg, the company is expected to see sales growth of 82 percent in 2015, according to Euromonitor.