June 19, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing comments on its draft guidance to inform its approach to the declaration of added sugars on pure maple syrup and pure honey.
FDA recognizes the complexity of this issue and is grateful for the feedback it has received, including more than 3,000 comments received during the comment period on the draft guidance that closed on June 15. The agency plans to take these comments into consideration to swiftly formulate a revised approach that makes key information available to consumers in a workable way.
When the FDA issued its final rule to update the Nutrition Facts label, it included added sugars as one of the required nutrients to declare on the Nutrition Facts label and provided a definition of added sugars based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FDA's definition of added sugars includes sugars that are either added during the processing of foods or are packaged as such (e.g., a jar of honey, container of maple syrup, or a bag of table sugar). This definition forms the basis of the Dietary Guidelines recommendation that Americans eat no more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugars in order to reduce their risk of chronic disease like heart disease.
In February 2018, FDA issued a draft guidance for industry that would help industry provide information about the added sugars declaration on the label of products like maple syrup and honey.
This draft guidance was the agency's preliminary attempt to address concerns that declaring added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label of single ingredient products like pure maple syrup and pure honey may lead consumers to think that a “pure” product is economically adulterated with corn syrup or other added sweeteners. The guidance advised food manufacturers about FDA's intent to exercise enforcement discretion to allow the use of an obelisk symbol, “†,” on the Nutrition Facts label immediately after the added sugars percent Daily Value information on containers of pure maple syrup or pure honey to direct consumers to language outside the Nutrition Facts label that provides truthful and non-misleading contextual information about the meaning of “added sugars” for these specific products.
The feedback that FDA has received is that the approach laid out in the draft guidance does not provide the clarity that the FDA intended. It is important to FDA that consumers are able to effectively use the new Nutrition Facts label to make informed, healthy dietary choices. The agency looks forward to working with stakeholders to devise a sensible solution.
The draft guidance also considered labeling of added sugars for certain cranberry products. The agency looks forward to reviewing the comments received on these products as well.
- Draft Guidance for Industry: Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products
- Regulations.gov Docket FDA-2018-D-0075 – The Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products
- Industry Q&As: Added Sugars
- Draft Guidance: Questions and Answers on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals
- Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on an updated approach for including added sugar information on the Nutrition Facts labels of pure maple syrup and honey