FDA: ‘Love’ Is Not a Real Ingredient in Massachusetts Bakery’s Granola

A Massachusetts bakery's granola may be made with love, but federal officials say it shouldn't be listed as an ingredient on the package.

Nashoba Brook Bakery, in Concord, was taken to task by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for listing "love" as an ingredient on its Nashoba Granola label. In a letter posted this week on the FDA website, the agency said federal regulations require that ingredients "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," the FDA wrote.

The agency said in a statement Wednesday that listing "love" as an ingredient was just one of several violations, including a failure by the company to clean and sanitize its baking equipment and facility properly.

The information about the use of "love" was included but is not among the agency's top concerns, the FDA said.

The bakery's CEO, John Gates, told The Associated Press the bakery will be "fully cooperative" with the FDA. He also said the bakery has a "cleaning contract of $100,000 per year," along with a pest control contract.

"We are primarily an old world handmade sourdough based bread company," said Gates. "What we do really requires care, attention, passion and really love."

Gates said the company has gotten a positive reaction from people since news of the letter began to circulate.

"It taps this feeling that a lot of Americans have that there are ways in which the government can overreach, and it seems kind of silly," Gates said. "Because it's about the word love, it's cathartic. ... It makes it something that people can smile at."

Bakery co-owner and chief baker Stuart Witt said the company has been open nearly 20 years, and has 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 is put into baking the company's rustic, European-style sourdough bread, which the bakery lets rise for 12 to 14 hours a day.

With all that labor comes a very important ingredient, which is love according to Gates.

"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 said. "It was in part light heart-ed, but it was also to signal our customers that we really care about what we do," he said.

The bakery makes about 50 pounds of granola a day. "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," said Gates.

Some customers at the bakery understand the FDA’s response but others aren't loving it.

"The FDA being a regulation board should do that, can't define it," said costumer Thomas Schepp.

Grady Vincent said, "Pretty sure everyone knows it's not a poison and the world probably needs more of it right now, so I think they should be allowed to put it on there."

Whether customers want to see it listed as an ingredient or not, the bakery has already complied with the FDA.

Granola on the shelf now does not list "love" even though Gates said, "it still has love in it."

The bakery's owners said they're working to address and comply with the rest of the FDA's requests.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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