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Bakery that faked sugar-free treats shut down, FDA says

A New Jersey bakery that put sugar in its sugar-free baked goods and turned out chocolate chip and blueberry muffins with nearly twice the fat printed on the labels has been shuttered at the urging of federal health officials.

A federal judge issued a consent decree against the Butterfly Bakery of Clifton, N.J., after Food and Drug Administration officials said the firm had mislabeled its sweets for years – despite warnings to stop.

“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.”

The FDA warned Butterfly Bakery chief executive Brenda Issac in 2011 to stop mislabeling the company’s treats.

In a letter, agency officials said tests showed the firm’s No-Sugar Added Blueberry Muffins contained more than twice the fat listed on nutrition labels. For instance, the label states that one serving – half of a muffin – contained 3.5 grams of fat. But the portion actually contained 9.4 grams of fat per half-muffin serving, about 170 percent beyond what the label said.

Another treat, Sugar-Free Double Chocolate Chip Muffins, contained about 444 percent more saturated fat than listed on the product label, the FDA said.

“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,” FDA officials said in a press release.

The agency collected samples of the sweets in December 2010.

U.S. District Court Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh of the district of New Jersey signed the consent decree on March 5.

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