Has the FDA Gone Nuts? Walnuts’ Health Claims Classified as a ‘Drug’

Walnuts are a "drug?" Really? Credit: steffenz

File this one in ridiculous. The FDA recently issued Diamond Food a warning letter saying, in a nutshell (get it? Ha!), that Diamond walnuts are making health claims akin to drugs, saying that “these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation and treatment of disease.” Therefore the company needs to apply for them to be classified as such a drug or remove the claims.

Nutters, right?

While there’s no doubt that walnuts are a superfood (they do everything from helping your brain to your eyesight to your heart to keeping your mood lifted), it really seems like the FDA would be better off spending their time on other more pressing issues than walnuts, which are totally safe for consumption. And, really, if walnuts are now a drug, what natural food isn’t? You might as well as go ahead and classify all the nuts as drugs, along with blueberries, salmon and pretty much every vegetable. Oh, and how about exercise? Regular physical exercise acts like an almost freakin’ magic pill when it comes to cancer, cardiovascular disease and overall wellness.

What do you guys think? Nutso? Not so? Sound off in the comments! —Jenn

Categories: Best Of, News, NutritionTags:

This article was originally published on fitbottomedgirls.com.

We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial.



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  1. This morning I saw a TV ad for Splenda with B vitamins. How is that a better idea than a nutrient-rich, whole food? I don’t understand the FDA’s purpose at all anymore.

  2. No, actually that’s not what the FDA is saying. What they are saying is that the current labeling for the nuts is promoting them for treating conditions that would classify them as a drug. If Diamond wants to continue to make health claims on its labeling, it needs to put its nuts through the drug approval process just like any other drug or supplement that makes the same claims. Diamond is free to remove the health claims from its labeling and market the nuts as food. This doesn’t mean the FDA disagrees that these foods are healthy, just that all products that make the same health claims need to be put through the same screening process.

  3. That’s not what the FDA is doing. It’s saying that because Diamond Food held the nut to be this cancer cure-all, the intended use defines their product as a drug. From the letter: “based on claims made on your firm’s website, we have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease … Because of these intended uses, your walnut products are drugs …”

  4. They aren’t telling them that walnuts are a drug, they are telling the company that they are making drug claims, and if they want to continue doing that, they will have to prove it and register the product as a drug. The FDA is trying to protect people from companies who make false claims, etc…

  5. The FDA’s letter seems to indicate that they take issue with the claims the company is making on their labels, not that they want to regulate walnuts as a drug. That said, I feel like there are many other companies that make similar claims in their advertising, so why aren’t they being called out as well?

  6. I think that if there is an overwhelming scientific consensus (i.e., many peer-reviewed studies) backing up a claim, then the FDA is fine with it. In the letter they cite many of the claims that Diamond makes, and then follows with why it isn’t backed up with enough solid science. Other companies may be making claims that are backed up enough for the FDA, or they put an asterisk saying, “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.”

  7. soooooooooo they are GOOD for you so the government has an issue with them WHY??? but by all means…dont put warnings on the overly processed, sugary, fattening, nasty foods PROCESSED to sit on a shelf for months at at time??? come on

  8. To everyone “defending” FDA, why isn’t FDA going after companies who list corn sugar instead of what everyone knows it to be as high fructose corn syrup. How about I can’t believe it’s not butter “calorie free” sprays. It has over 900 calories in the entire bottle, but because one spray has less than the required amount of calories it can be considered calorie free. How many people use 1 spray? That’s a bold faced lie, and no one is going after those companies. It just goes to show you the FDA is quick to pick on whole healthy foods but the processed crap, let’s just keep stuffing it down America’s face and let them get fatter and sicker. Don’t rely on anyone or any labels for that matter, just be smart and read the nutrition labels and ingredients.

  9. First, there are a number of published scientific reports that conclude that nuts are good for you, including providing vascular benefits – many of which can be found in the Library of Congress, lol.

    What evidence has Frito-Lay provided to prove its potato chips are “heart healthy”? The baked ones? Um…ok. Even if they are raw slices of potato, its still pure starch, which is nothing but sugar, that converts to pure fat when eaten. Now, does that really sound good for your heart and vascular system?

    Why isnt the FDA tackling this kind of statement before going after the Walnut market? Is it possible people looking for healthier snacks are hurting Frito-Lay’s profit margins, and the FDA is ready to help this large corporation out at whatever cost to your health?

    Does Diamond Walnuts REALLY prescribe a definate treatment for any disease, or just say that eating walnuts may be a healthier snack for you based on articles published by scientists?

    The FDA legitimised Splenda. Anyone remember when it first came out it was touted as ‘all natural’? Petroleum Jelly, plastic, chemicals, silicone and a number of other things I dont want to eat are also ultimately made from something ‘all natural’.

    Isn’t it cool you can’t even believe the manufacturers of what you buy are being truthful about EVERYTHING they are giving you to eat? Didnt the FDA also rename Aspertame to Neotame, and pass a rule that if you put Neotame in something you dont even have to say so on the products list of ingredients?

    Is the FDA there to protect the consumer,or just the interests of big Corporations?

    Isn’t it wonderful they think they have dumbed everyone down enough that they will chose chemicals over real food to eat?

    Right now we need jobs in the US, and not to be wasting tax-payer money on this idiocy and greed.