One bizarre consequence of FDA proposals to include ‘added sugars’ on the Nutrition Facts panel would be that not-from-concentrate 100% fruit juice could boast 0g ‘added sugar’ on the new-look labels, whereas 100% juice made from concentrate (containing an identical amount of sugar) would have to list its sugar as ‘added’.
In a comment (click HERE ) on the FDA’s proposed Nutrition Facts overhaul, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) notes that the FDA’s definition* of ‘added sugars’ includes naturally-occurring sugars that are isolated from a whole food and concentrated so that sugar is the primary component, as is the case with fruit juice concentrates.
“The proposal would require virtually all beverages containing fruit juice concentrate as a recipe ingredient, including 100% juice from concentrate, to bear nutrition labeling declaring the naturally occurring sugars contained in the fruit juice to be ‘added sugars’,” warns the GMA.
Move would confuse consumers and disadvantage NFC juice makers
As a result, “the consumer will be eating the same amount of sugar from the same source – fruit – but the amount of added sugar in the product will be labeled differently,” it says.
“The result is that the added sugar declaration will not assist consumers in maintaining a healthy diet and instead may just mislead consumers about the healthfulness of a product.”
The proposal would “confuse consumers and unnecessarily disadvantage beverages that are not formulated by direct expression of juice from fruit”, argues the GMA, which points out that fruit juice concentrate is often used by food manufacturers because it is more efficient/sustainable to transport concentrate and then add water at the end.
The American Beverage Association (click HERE ) is equally concerned, arguing that “FDA should clarify that in juice and juice drinks, fruit juice concentrates are not added sugars if they can be counted towards the percentage juice declaration found on beverage labels.”
GMA membership split on added sugar labeling
Specific concerns about fruit concentrates notwithstanding, the GMA says its members are split on the added sugar proposals, with the majority opposed, but a minority in favor, albeit with some caveats.
It adds: “By mandating the separate labeling of added sugars, most GMA members believe that FDA is strongly implying to consumers that added sugars are indeed distinct and different from (and less healthful than) inherent sugars, when they are not. Thus, added sugar labeling may convey false and misleading information to consumers.”
IDFA: A gram of sugar is a gram of sugar…
The International Dairy Foods Association (click HERE ) is also against the added sugar proposal, arguing that, “a gram of sugar is a gram of sugar… there has been no change in the scientific consensus on this point,” while the Calorie Control Council (click HERE ) fears that consumers could “add the ‘sugars’ and ‘added sugars’ lines together and erroneously think they are consuming more sugar than is actually in the product”.
While the FDA is conducting its own research, the International Food Information Council says a recent survey of 1,008 consumers (click HERE ) revealed that many shoppers struggled to identify the total amount of sugar in a product if shown a label that included a line for 'added sugars' line.
Indeed, when asked about the total sugar in a product, many respondents thought they would need to add the amount in the 'added sugars' line to the amount in the 'sugars' line. And almost as many still did the same, even when the word 'sugars' was replaced with 'total sugars' in a mock-up label.
Tate & Lyle: Where does allulose fit in?
Meanwhile, Tate & Lyle (click HERE ) notes that “there are certain ketohexose sugars like allulose that do not provide calories, are not metabolized, and do not raise blood glucose levels," and including them as ‘added sugars’ would be misleading and unfair.
For more comments on added sugars, click here: Should ‘added sugars' be listed on the Nutrition Facts panel?