Statement by FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Indicates the Standard “Added Sugar” Declaration Will Not be Required on Nutrition Facts Labels of Pure Maple Syrup and Honey
FDA’s final rule to update the Nutrition Facts label requires a mandatory declaration and a daily value (DV) for “added sugar” for both sweeteners added to processed foods as well as foods “packaged as such” including a bag of table sugar, jar of honey or container of maple syrup. With respect to foods that are “packaged as such,” FDA has acknowledged producers’ concerns that this new labeling information may inadvertently lead consumers to think their single ingredient foods may actually contain added table sugar or corn syrup if “added sugars” are listed on the label.
As previously reported on this blog, FDA published a draft guidance in February 2018 advising food manufacturers of FDA’s intent to allow the use of an obelisk symbol, “†,” on the Nutrition Facts label immediately after the added sugars DV on containers of pure maple syrup and pure honey that would direct consumers to information about “added sugars” and what it means for each of these specific products. FDA received over 3,000 comments on the draft guidance. Many of the comments (which can be viewed here) expressed concern that FDA’s proposed approach would not adequately address concerns about misleading consumers to perceive containers of pure maple syrup and pure honey as being economically adulterated.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, issued a statement on September 6, 2018 indicating that FDA is working on a revised approach that will not require the standard “added sugars” declaration on the Nutrition Facts label for pure, single-ingredient “products like pure honey and maple syrup. Dr. Gottlieb further stated that FDA is not considering changes to the required percent DV for these products. As such, FDA believes that the percent DV declaration will inform consumers as to the amount of added sugar the honey or maple syrup contributes to their daily amount while the omission of the quantitative amount of added sugar helps to prevent misleading consumers as to the composition of these products. FDA anticipates issuing the final guidance by early next year, well in advance of the January 2020 compliance date for larger firms for the updated Nutrition Facts label.