Natural foods company Kind Healthy Snacks filed a citizen petition Tuesday, asking for the Food and Drug Administration to redefine its definition of “healthy” to include nutrient-rich foods, CNNMoney reported. The New York-based granola bar maker received a warning letter in April from the FDA, ordering Kind to stop using the word on its labels.

After receiving the letter, Kind initially agreed to adjust the labeling on its Almond & Apricot, Almond & Coconut, Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate + Protein, and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants granola bars after the FDA argued that the bars did not meet the requirements to be labeled as healthy. Kind has now switched its position.



“Under FDA’s current application of food labeling regulations, whether or not a food can be labeled ‘healthy’ is based on specific nutrient levels in the food rather than its overall nutrition quality,” Kind wrote in its petition. “FDA formulated those regulations more than 20 years ago, when available science and federal dietary recommendations focused on limiting total fat intake. Today, these regulations still require that the majority of foods featuring a ‘healthy’ nutrient content claim meet ‘low fat’ and ‘low saturated fat’ standards regardless of their nutrient density. This is despite the fact that current science no longer supports those standards.”

The FDA mandates that the term “healthy” can only be used to describe individual foods that contain 3 grams or less total fat and 1 gram or less of saturated fat per serving, with the exception of meat or fish, the Hill reported. In its petition, Kind pointed out that mandate excludes nutrient-rich from using the term "healthy" as a nutrient content claim, despite the fact that federal dietary guidelines recommend that Americans should eat less meat and more fish and nuts.

“Many current federal labeling regulations are based upon this past thinking, preventing foods that contain beneficial whole ingredients and are recommended for consumption -- like nuts, avocados, olives, and salmon -- from bearing the word ‘healthy’ in their labeling,” Kind said in its petition.  

Numerous health experts and nutritionists have joined Kind Snacks in its petition.