Recently, the FDA made headlines when it chastised a Massachusetts bakery for listing “love” as one of the ingredients in its granola — though it bears mentioning that the FDA also said that the presence of “love” was the least of its complaints, and they were far more concerned with the bakery’s “serious” health code violations. According to the FDA, “‘Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material...”

While some decry the FDA’s intervention as more evidence of a “nanny state,” the Agency’s crackdown on “touchy-feely” language may be wrong. Some research suggests emotions do have the ability to alter one's health — though whether they can be distilled into granola is another question.

Feelings now on the banned list

In light of the FDA's actions, please be aware that the following emotions, personalities, or political inclinations should not be found in your handmade granola, full-fat yogurt sourced from grass-fed cows, or new flavor of La Croix.

1. ‘That autumn feeling’ is not a recognized coffee flavoring, and producers are advised to simply call it pumpkin spice like everyone else.

2. No product can reliably be said to have ‘never so much as looked sideways at gluten.’

3. While ‘guilt-free’ is an acceptable designator for frozen yogurt, ‘guilt’ is not a suitable substitute for a full listing of every ingredient in Chunky Monkey, and no amount of industry lobbying by Ben and Jerry can change that.

4. Regardless of their quality of life, no beef, pork, or poultry product can be said to be an Emotionally Modified Organism (EMO).

5. ‘Mindfulness’ is not organic.

6. No brand of bottled water may simultaneously claim to be ‘100% pure’ and also contain ‘happy thoughts.’

7. ‘Hope’ is not an ingredient in soup, especially when it’s used to mean lentils.

8. No herbal tea, no matter how soothing, may list its primary ingredient as ‘good vibes,’ unless that ingredient is actual marijuana, in which case the tea’s existence is an issue for law enforcement.

9. ‘Kindness’ does not indicate an absence of animal byproducts.

10. All low-calorie margarita and cosmopolitan drink mixes are immediately ordered to stop listing ‘female friendship.’

11. Bakeries are not permitted to say their bread rises because of ‘class consciousness.’

As always, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, azodicarbonamide, and olestra remain approved ingredients. We discourage you from questioning this policy, and should focus instead on eliminating “love” and other abstract concepts from the nation’s granola.

This is a satirical piece in response to the FDA’s recent letter to Nashoba Brook Bakery warning them that “love” is an “intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.” Here at Healthline, we believe that positive emotions certainly enhance one’s well-being, but also recognize that there’s little scientific ways to measure emotions as an effective ingredient.


Elaine Atwell is an author, critic, and founder of The Dart. Her work has been featured on Vice, The Toast, and numerous other outlets. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.