Maple syrup, honey, get reprieve from added sugar labeling in appropriations bill; almondmilk less fortunate

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Gettyimages-showcase
Picture: Gettyimages-showcase
Maple syrup, honey, and other sugars sold as single ingredients will not have be listed as ‘added sugar’ on the Nutrition facts panel under an 11th hour amendment from Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) to the appropriations bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday.

Amendment SA 3595, agreed to by voice vote, would “prohibit the use of funds to enforce certain requirements with respect to added sugars in the rules issued by the FDA on nutrition labels​.”

Collins - who has come under pressure to address added sugar labeling from maple syrup producers in her state - said listing single ingredient items such as pure maple syrup as 'added sugar' under the new-look Nutrition Facts panel (as required under Feb 2018 draft guidance​,​ albeit with caveats) would have "misled consumers into believing that pure maple syrup includes ​[added] high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar."

In a June 19 constituent update​ the FDA had already acknowledged that its Feb 2018 draft guidance​ on added sugar labeling with respect to single ingredient sugar products was unpopular​, and said it looked forward to “working with stakeholders to devise a sensible solution.”

The Senate rejected a separate amendment​ from Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would have blocked the FDA from using funds appropriated by the spending bill to crack down on plant-based dairy products with compound names such as almondmilk and soymilk (which milk producers claim violate federal standards of identity, but plant-based brands dispute).

The spending bill (H.R. 6147​) will provide the FDA with $2.97bn in discretionary funds for fiscal 2019, a $159m increase over fiscal 2018 enacted levels.  It now heads to a conference committee to reconcile differences between the Senate and House bills before heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

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1 comment

this whole sugars thing is getting super complicated

Posted by Sarah W,

In reading through the FDA draft guidance, wow. It gets SO complicated. How a consumer could ever figure all that out, especially when the reasoning for a proposed label would be so complicated. You would almost need to impose a QR code next to all nutritional panels that would talk about the how's and why's of everything calculated. I mean, just read thru the reasoning with cranberries to exempt them -- that makes no sense whatsoever -- it's like trying to make an apple an orange just because the orange is currently getting better treatment.

The nutritional panel is meant for consumer benefit, not for lobbyists. If the consumer can't understand it or if the panel is misleading, then it was all for naught.

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