What is love? Not an ingredient in granola, says the FDA

What's love got to do with it? The government agency warns a Massachusetts bakery to stop listing it on its labels.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper

Your grandma might have told you "love" was the extra ingredient that made her chocolate chip cookies so good, but Grandma never had to tangle with the US Food and Drug Administration.

On Tuesday, the FDA shared a warning letter sent to Nashoba Brook Bakery, and along with other warnings, there was this rebuke:

"Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient 'Love.' 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, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient."

Nashoba CEO John Gates told Bloomberg News the FDA's reprimand "just felt so George Orwell."

"I really like that we list 'love' in the granola," Gates said. "People ask us what makes it so good. It's kind of nice that this artisan bakery can say there's love in it and it puts a smile on people's face. 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."

Fans of the bakery in West Concord, Massachusetts tweeted their, uh, love for the bakery's ingredient choices.

And some just couldn't resist getting musical, thanks to the use of "What Is Love?" in the "Saturday Night Live" skits that became the 1998 movie "Night at the Roxbury."