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Posted: March 2nd, 2022

Nutrition Paper Due In 72 Hours.

Course: NFS 4160

Regulation of Granola Bars 1 DEFINITION:

Granola bars are usually referenced to as a small breakfast meal or snack. They come in a

variety flavors, forms, and textures. Granola bars are usually made up of oats or granola along a

mix of different nuts or chocolate chips- which usually gives them their varying flavors and

textures. The consistency of a granola bar is usually chewy although they can also be on the

crunchier side as well. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) generally oversees granola bars,

as well as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) and Fair Packaging and Labeling

Act (FPLA). Under the USDA, granola bars are referred to as commercial items; moreover they

contain Commercial Item Description (CID) which the USDA describes as “product descriptions

that concisely describe the most important characteristics of a commercial product” (3).


The main agency that overlooks granola bars is the USDA. However, the USDA also

contains several branches which regulate these bars. The Agriculture Marketing Services (AMS),

as well as the Federal Grain Inspection Services (FGIS), must inspect the bars to ensure

sanitation and report back to the USDA for certification if all expectations are met (3). The

process of certification is random, where samples are sent to the laboratory for analysis under

specifications for analytical testing. The selected products must meet the guidelines they fall

under for certification or approval. FD&C also looks over additives added into the bars, as well

as how much acacia is used in the formation, since it can lead to certain unique characteristics

within the bars (2). FPLA is also required for packaging purposes and must comply with the

criteria it is expected to meet.


For standards of identity, granola bars usually have 2 characteristics which make them

what they are. For one, they are either crunchy or chewy bars which also contain either oats,

wheat, or nuts in them. With that being said, the USDA defines them into two groups, style A

and style B bars. If the finished product of a granola bar contains either a crunchy, slightly

chewy, or granular texture it is referred to as style A with no additional classes; whereas if the

other set contains a slightly soft, chewy, or granular flavor, it is referenced as style B. Within

style B come different classes as well. Uncoated, which is class A, and coated which is class B.

As for odor and color, they must comply with the flavor they belong to and meet their claims

based on what is advertised or on the PDP (3).


Granola bars follow the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act guidelines.This means that the

standards of identity must comply with the product packaging, as well as net weight and

nutritional facts. Moreover, the product must be identified based on what it is, along with the

name of the manufacturer and net quantity (6). Packaging also includes a single bar package or

dual bar package, and should not exceed 90 days before being delivered to the customers (3).


KIND bars, which is a specific brand aimed at advertising healthy bar products- usually

containing fruits and nuts rather than granola, were stopped by the FDA due to possible false

information (8). The FDA claims that KIND misbranded their bars by labeling them as healthy-

because according to the FDA, they exceed the 1 gram of saturated fat per 40g RAAC to be

labeled as such (9). According to the FDA, saturated fats should not exceed 15% of the total

calories if it were to be labeled “low in saturated fat” (9). On the other hand, KIND bars aren’t

the only ones put on the spot. Many consider granola bars a healthy snack, however there have

been numerous contradictions to many company health claims that oppose the claim “healthy”

on the labels. For example, brands like Kellog are supposed to promote healthy breakfast bar

products, however their sugar content exceeds the recommended amount. For a bar to be healthy,

sugar content should only make up 10% of the total calories (10). Exceeding these limits leads to

increased risk of chronic disease- varying from obesity to diabetes, as well as a potential risk for

heart disease (10). On the other hand, some products utilize alternative sweeteners to minimize

the risk for such health complications, and amongst those sweetners are sugar alcohols, which

were shown to carry out a less harmful risk for diabetes and other health complications. So to

avoid health complications, consumers must take into account that not every claim on the PDP is

true by reading the actual nutrition label as well as ingredient list.


According to the Food Safety News, General Mills released a food recall on Natures

Valley granola bars due to possible listeria contamination. There were four specific products

pertaining to this recall that were recalled and consumers were noticed on the FDA website about

this issue (7). On the other hand, there was also a recent recall for granola bars this year due to

possible salmonella contamination by The Michigan-based Thumb Oilseed Producers’

Cooperative. The recall was aimed at grits and flours that were possibly incorporated into the

bars and can lead to hazards if consumed (11). To better solve the recall issue, they also stopped

producing and distributing the products and worked with the USDA and Michigan Department

of Agriculture to investigate the products(11) . Another topic I want to bring up in terms of

safety are GMO’s. GMO’s are also amongst the common concerns of some people that may lead

to minimizing product safety for consumers based on where they stand .Although they are

debatable, there have been some possible reported side effects of them. According to Medical

News Today, consuming GMOs for a long time may contribute to cancer, can trigger allergies,

and may affect antibacterial resistance (12). Although these are all possibilities, it has been

mentioned that there isn’t much research to draw a solid conclusion on these claims. However,

some bars make sure they don’t use GMO’s to maintain product credibility within consumers,

and post that on their labeling package to ensure consumers that the product is safe for them if

they have any doubt.


For my assessment, I will be evaluating Market Panty (by Target) chewy granola bars

versus Quaker Oats chewy granola bars. There is a significant price difference in both products

which usually steers consumers away from getting the cheaper product. Both products advertise

being composed of whole grains on their PDP and conform to their standards of identity by being

referenced as chewy granola bars. They also both abide by the FPLA packaging guidelines in

terms of statement of identity, manufacturer’s name, and net quantity. As for nutrition labels,

there are some differences. The Quaker Oats contains 1 extra gram of whole grains (9g) as well

as no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The Market Pantry chewy bars do contain

artificial flavors and preservatives, however they only contain 0.5 grams of saturated fat whereas

Quaker Oats contains 1.5 grams. The total sugar content is the same, but Quaker Oats uses

brown sugar which I don’t know if it makes much of a difference. All in all, both products

pertain to Style A bars as labeled by the USDA, since they are only chewy bars. They also come

in single bar packaging and their colors are as presented on the PDP image.


1. About AMS | Agricultural Marketing Service. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2020, from


2. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2020, from





4. Commercial Item Descriptions | Agricultural Marketing Service. (n.d.). Retrieved

October 24, 2020, from https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/cids

5. Federal Grain Inspection Service | Agricultural Marketing Service. Retrieved October 24,

2020, from


6. Fair Packaging and Labeling Act: Regulations Under Section 4 of the Fair Packaging

and Labeling Act. Federal Trade Commission.



7. Seattle, F. S. N. 1012 F. A. F. F., & Washington 98104-1008. (2016, June 25). Listeria

concerns prompt recall of Nature Valley granola bars. Food Safety News.



8. FDA Decides to Let KIND Call Its Bars “Healthy” Again. (n.d.). Time. Retrieved

October 25, 2020, from https://time.com/4324042/kind-bars-healthy-fda/

9. KIND, LLC – 03/17/2015. (2019, December 20). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.



10. Healthy Granola Bars: Fact or Fiction? (n.d.). Healthline.


11. Seattle, F. S. N. 1012 F. A. F. F., & Washington 98104-1008. (n.d.). granola bar. Food

Safety News. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from


12. Pros and cons of GMO foods: Health and environment. (n.d.).




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