In the latest chapter of the FDA’s ongoing saga with New Jersey-based Butterfly Bakery, a federal judge has “approved a consent decree of permanent injunction against” the company “for unlawfully distributing misbranded food products, such as muffins and snack cakes,” according to an FDA press release.
Butterfly Bakery has a history of openly flaunting FDA regulations with regards to their nutritional labeling, misrepresenting the sugar and fat content of their products to astonishing degrees — in fact, the FDA plainly warned the company and CEO Brenda Issac that it would face consequences if it didn’t cease its fraudulent practices. As per the FDA press release:
The consent decree restrains Butterfly Bakery and Brenda Isaac from processing and distributing food until the company complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) and applicable regulations. Under the consent decree, FDA may assess damages against the company for any future violations of the law or the consent decree.
“This injunction demonstrates that the FDA will seek enforcement action against companies that mislead consumers on the products they purchase,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “Until Butterfly Bakery meets FDA regulations, it will no longer be able to process or distribute their products.”
Samples tested by both FDA and state officials over several years show that Butterfly Bakery’s product labeling was false and misleading. For example, laboratory analysis showed that foods labeled as “sugar free” contained sugar, and that certain products contained as much as three times the amount of labeled/declared sugar, two times the amount of labeled/declared fat, and two times the amount of labeled/declared saturated fat.
Faced with the reality of America’s obesity-related medical problems, public health advocates have been pushing for more robust FDA regulation of everything from high-sugar or high-sodium items to energy drinks. While the FDA hasn’t always lived up to these goals — for instance, the agency has stalled to finalize Obamacare’s calorie-reporting requirements for food chains largely because it’s worried about accommodating special interests — their victory against Butterfly Bakery shows that food makers still shouldn’t get carried away with their sugar highs.