Sugar Association asks FDA to remove ‘added sugars’ from labeling proposal

August 1, 2014

The Sugar Association (SA) has filed comments in response to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Proposed Rule, “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels.” SA is calling on the FDA to withdraw its “added sugars” labeling proposal, noting that it represents a reversal of FDA’s long-standing science-based position on labeling.

In its comments, SA expresses concern about the use of the misleading term “added sugars” and that the lack of science to justify “added sugars” labeling sets an alarming precedent for this and future food product labeling regulations. The Association raised serious concerns about the contradiction between the science cited to support “added sugars” labeling and the agency’s assertion in the Proposed Rule that, “We generally consider scientific evidence to be ‘well established’ when such consensus reports have determined the evidence to be ‘conclusive,’ ‘documented,’ or ‘strong.’”

“General dietary guidance in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to increase or reduce certain components of the diet has merit for the general population. However, we have serious concerns that it is a gross expansion of the intent of the law governing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) to use selective dietary guidance from a single edition of the DGA as the primary basis to promulgate food labeling regulations,” the comments state.

SA points out that a thorough examination of the National Evidence Library scientific evidence reviews, which the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee used to support their “added sugars” guidance, confirms that no “conclusive” “documented” or “strong” evidence was cited in support of the assertion that added sugars contribute to weight gain, nutrient displacement, displacement of nutrient-rich foods, obesity, and heart disease.

SA notes that no authoritative scientific body has found a public health need to set an upper level (UL) for "added sugars" intake, including the Institute of Medicine in 2002 and the European Food Safety Authority in 2010, which was confirmed by the FDA in the Proposed Rule.

“In keeping with the President’s Executive Order 13563, new product labeling regulations should be based solely on the best available science and considerable deference should be given to the fact that implementation of this regulation would be excessively burdensome and costly for the entire food industry and ultimately the consuming public,” the comments conclude.

Press release

Sugar Association’s comments (pdf)