If new proposals by the Food and Drug Administration are adopted, consumers will know much more about the sugar content of foods and beverages, according to a July 29, 2015 article published by Fortune.com.
The FDA just recently revised nutrition labels and among the changes, the government agency says it wants to see greater emphasis on sugar content. The proposal would go one step further than the present requirements, which only show how much sugar is contained in a serving of food. It would now require that manufacturers disclose how much sugar is added; that is, the amount of sugar that is not a natural component of the food or drink. This labeling change is heralded by health advocates and others because it would show exactly how much sugar is added during the manufacturing/processing phases.
In addition, another proposal by the FDA is to display a percentage daily value for added sugars. Much like the percentage RDA for vitamins and minerals, this would indicate the percentage of the recommended daily limit for sugar in everything you eat and drink. Current labeling laws only indicate the number of grams of sugar per serving of food or beverage. This isn’t sufficient, according to the FDA and health advocates, because the average person doesn’t know how many grams of sugar are optimal for daily good health. Adding a percentage would simplify matters.
Parents and others applaud the new standards because they will help aid in the monitoring of sugar intake. As expected, however, certain businesses are opposed to the idea on the grounds that there isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to confirm that sugar is detrimental to health or to verify exactly how much should be consumed in a given day. The FDA points to several studies that link excess sugar intake to problems ranging from diabetes to hypertension, but industries such as those involved with soft drinks and sugary snacks say not enough evidence exists to vilify sugar in this manner.
Of course, all this proposal does is add requirements to labeling- people are still free to eat and drink whatever they wish and parents can still purchase anything they like for their kids. But business interest groups such as the Sugar Association and American Beverage Association have already lined up against the proposed FDA changes. If adopted, they will affect consumer behavior, at least to a degree, and will force food and beverage manufacturers to change the way they process, which could lead to greater costs and higher prices. Reduced sugar might be a worthwhile goal, but it won’t come without a price and a fight from industry advocates.
While the FDA may be calling for more information on labels about sugar, the debate about the use of labeling to inform consumers if their foods contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms or bio-engineered food) continues. You can weigh in on that debate by telling the big businesses you want labeling to tell you if your foods contain gmos or are bioengineered with this petition. the link is below.
Click here to sign petition for GMO food labeling