A new proposal of the Food and Drug Administration would require all nutrition labels on packaged foods to specify in how much added sugars they contain and how much that would represent of the daily calorie intake that’s recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Manufacturers of beverages and foods had a quick reaction to the proposal, instantly opposing it – which didn’t surprise or fool anyone. Two of their main arguments were that the new labels might confuse customers as to what they actually represent, and that the dietary limits set on added sugars are in fact just recommendations that aren’t scientific.
Basically, added sugars do not find in foods naturally, but are included before production and packaging. According to the federal recommendations, Americans are encouraged to keep the added sugar amounts under 10 percent of their daily calorie intake.
FDA officials have filed last year, for the first time, a proposal that required companies to list added sugars on nutrition labels, but under the new proposal food companies would also have to give the customer the percentage of calories.
The agency recommends that both adults and children aged 4 or older should not exceed the upper daily limit of 50 grams of added sugars. Prof Marion Nestle, who teaches nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, put that in terms we can understand: no more than one 16-ounce soda per day.
Professor Nestle is a committed supporter of the new proposal, as she believes it would benefit both the public and the manufacturers; customers who read nutritional labels would make healthier choices; and food makers would be incentivized to cut down on added sugars.
One of the fiercest opponents of the agency’s proposal is the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade group representing the biggest food companies.
Their officials deemed the FDA’s dietary standards for added sugars as inadequate, saying that before this proposal was made, the dietary recommendation should’ve been evaluated by an independent, rigorous scientific organization.
And according to a survey conducted in 2014 by the International Food Information Council Foundation, food manufacturers have indeed a reason to fight and fear this proposal. When consumers were asked to interpret food labels that contained information on added sugars, it turned out the majority found the new language confusing.
The survey also discovered that listing added sugars on a product’s nutrition panel significantly decreased the chance that the customer would buy it.
Image Source: Food Navigator