FDA tells bakery to forget about love

FDA says no to ‘love’ at granola bakery

Plenty of people say they bake with love, including John Gates CEO of Nashoba Brook Bakery. However, the FDA has ruled that the Concord, MA company cannot list it as an ingredient on their Nashoba Granola label.

According to a letter posted on the agency’s website, the Food and Drug Administration stated that federal regulations require that all ingredients on food packages “must be listed by their common or usual name.” But because “love” doesn’t fit the description, it must be considered to be “ intervening material,” and has tot be removed.

In the meantime, Nashoba’s co-owner and chief baker Stuart Witt told the Associated Press “ that while both men think the ruling is insane, and a “ real sign of government overreach,” they have agreed to comply.

“We have been in business for nearly 20 years, and have been selling granola nearly that long. Love has been listed on the label from the beginning,” he said. “We feel very strongly that love is a big part of what we do,” he said, adding that as much care and the feeling is also incorporated into baking their European-style sourdough bread.

“Because it’s such a long process, there’s so much room for error if you’re not really caring and putting a lot of love into it,” he added. “I always say, with our granola, you need to mix it, mix it thoroughly, and then when you’re done, mix it again, and mix it again.”

Still, while the order regarding the removal of “love” on their labels may seem silly, Gates and Witt did admit that they are taking other FDA infractions seriously, including failure by the company to clean and sanitize its baking equipment and facility properly, and have signed a “cleaning contract of $100,000 per year, along with a pest control contract” to bring the facility up to code.

Allowable ingredients

Basically, granola is a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, dried fruits such as dates and raisins, as well as (sometimes) chocolate chips and puffed rice combined with honey and or brown sugar or molasses that is baked until it is crisp, crunchy and golden brown. In the meantime, the mixture is stirred during the baking process to maintain a loose breakfast cereal consistency. Some companies also have been known to add flax seeds to aid digestion. Once used primarily for breakfast, granola bars have become a popular snack food since the 1960’s and is often used as a healthy topping for ice cream, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

Granola vs. mueseli

Although they both contain grains nuts and fruits that make them indistinguishable to many consumers, muesli, unlike its sister food granola, is not baked or toasted, and contains no sugar or fat. Eaten “raw” mueseli is usually soaked in milk and thus more popular as a breakfast food than granola. Neither, however, requires refrigeration.

Interestingly, both were invented during the latter half of the 19th century, with basically the same purpose. While granola was invented in Dansville, New York, by Dr. James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium in 1863, muesli was introduced by Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner as a “healing” regimen for patients at his Swiss sanitarium some 30-years later.

Note: Nashoba products are sold in more than 120 stores, mostly in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and reports annual sales of nearly $5 million according to its website.

About Diana Duel

Diana Duel is an eclectic writer who has written on everything from woodstove and fireplace cooking to automotive topics and holistic medicine. As an advocate of health and wellbeing, Diana also writes several columns related to these subject.

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