FDA to review 'added sugar' label

Aug 05, 2014 10:05 AM EDT | By Staff Reporter

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The Food and Drug Administration has announced that from this week it will start the review of thousands of public comments on proposed new labeling regulations that would require food makers to specify how much sugar they are adding to products.

“Sugar is Sugar, regardless of the source,” Campbell Soup Company, the maker of Pepperidge Farm and Prego products, wrote in a letter to the FDA.
“Giving consumers a false impression that reducing added sugars without reducing calories may actually delay finding a real solution the problem” of obesity, Lisa J. Thorsten, the company’s director of regulatory affairs and nutrition, wrote.

The Sugar Association, which represents the makers of household brands, including Domino Sugar and Imperial Sugar, went further, saying the lack of scientific evidence to justify the line sets an “alarming precedent.”

This is the FDA’s first significant step to address a growing clamor from health groups and scientists who say that excessive sugar consumption is a key culprit in the nation's obesity and diabetes epidemics.

"There's been an increasing drum beat on the part of public health advocates to give consumers that information," says Michael Jacobson, the head of nonprofit food advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has spent decades crusading to tackle high sugar levels.

Jacobson said he was "delighted and almost in disbelief" when he heard of the FDA's plans, which were announced in February.

The battle is more about knowing how sugar is present in food rather than how much it should be present in your food.

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