The Food and Drug Administration showed no fondness for a bakery that listed love as an ingredient on its granola label. Love is not an ingredient, according to the agency.
Dozens of news headlines appeared today and late yesterday reporting the fact, citing a warning letter released yesterday that the agency sent late last month to the Massachusetts bakery, Nashoba Brook Bakery, LLC.
The media seemed to savor the ostensibly heartless move by the stony federal agency. But chuckles aside, the FDA’s quibble over the ingredient list is a minor point in the letter. The rest of the warning lays out a disturbing and extensive list of sanitation violations by Nashoba. Together the violations paint a picture of a filthy, neglected facility—not a place where one would imagine things are lovingly baked.
During a recent bakery inspection, FDA agents discovered: dirt and filth caked onto ceiling vents and sprinklers directly above ready-to-eat foods; parts of the floor and ceiling that were missing for some reason; equipment, including bowls and cooling racks, that wasn’t cleaned or maintained; and counters, shelves, and food production surfaces that were coated with an unknown residue.
Insects also proved worrisome. At one point, an FDA inspector noticed a one-inch-long, unidentified crawling insect directly underneath a batch of pastries. Last, the FDA reported that employees weren’t following proper hygiene practices. One baker repeatedly dipped a blue bracelet into raw dough while mixing it.
In an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, the FDA emphasized that “love” on the ingredient list was “not among the agency’s top concerns.”
Nashoba CEO John Gates told Bloomberg that some of the FDA’s warnings were helpful, but it called others, including the ingredient quibble, examples of a “nanny state.” It “just felt so George Orwell,” he added.
“Reducing regulations at the federal level is a topic that everybody talks about,” he said. “Some of these requirements, those kind of things don’t sit right with me.”
According to the FDA’s warning letter, Nashoba has 15 days to correct the problems and reply with documentation, including photographs, showing the agency that issues have been resolved.