June 18, 2019
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is issuing a final guidance to provide clarity on the labeling of added sugars for single-ingredient packages or containers of pure honey, maple syrup and other single ingredient sugars and syrups as a result of a requirement contained in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334), known as the “Farm Bill.” Under the final guidance, these single-ingredient products are not required to declare the number of grams of added sugars in a serving of the product on the Nutrition Facts label but must still include the percent Daily Value for added sugars to ensure that consumers have information about how a serving of these products contributes to their total diet. Daily Values are the amounts in grams, milligrams, or micrograms recommended for certain nutrients, or recommended not to exceed for certain other nutrients, for Americans 4 years of age and older.
The FDA is stating its intent to exercise “enforcement discretion” by permitting the use of the “†” symbol immediately following the added sugars percent Daily Value declaration, which leads to a footnote inside the Nutrition Facts label explaining the amount of added sugars that one serving of the product contributes to the diet as well as the contribution of a serving of the product toward the percent Daily Value for added sugars. The symbol and footnote are not a requirement, but FDA encourages manufacturers to use them as a way to provide useful information to consumers.
The final guidance also provides clarification on the labeling requirements for certain dried cranberry products and cranberry beverage products. These products must still declare added sugars in grams and declare the percent Daily Value for added sugars. However, FDA is stating its intent to exercise enforcement discretion for these cranberry products to allow the use of a symbol immediately following the added sugars percent Daily Value declaration leading to a statement outside the Nutrition Facts label explaining that sugars are added to improve the palatability of naturally tart cranberries. Manufacturers can use the symbol for cranberry products that are sweetened with added sugars and that contain total sugars at levels no greater than comparable products. A comparable product for cranberry beverage products would be unsweetened grape juice. This approach was outlined in a draft guidance issued February 2018 and has not changed in the final guidance.
The FDA issued its final rule to update the Nutrition Facts label on May 27, 2016. The regulations require, in part, that added sugars be included on the Nutrition Facts label and established a Daily Value for added sugars. The definition for added sugars included 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). However, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334), known as the “Farm Bill,” was signed into law after publication of the final rule and FDA’s draft guidance. It states that food labeling requirements cannot require the declaration of the gram amount of added sugars for single-ingredient sugars, honey, agave, and syrups, including maple syrup.
Finally, FDA is advising manufacturers of single-ingredient packages and/or containers of pure honey, pure maple syrup, and other pure sugars and syrups, as well as the cranberry products discussed in the guidance of its intent to exercise enforcement discretion until July 1, 2021 for complying with the labeling changes outlined in the Nutrition Facts label rule and the Serving Size rule. FDA is taking this action because it recognizes the importance of giving manufacturers of the products discussed in the guidance additional time to make appropriate label changes consistent with the Farm Bill and the final guidance.
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