The Food and Drug Administration proposed on Friday that nutrition labels on
packaged foods cite the amount of added sugars they contain as a percentage of
the recommended daily calorie intake.
brought immediate criticism from manufacturers of foods and beverages, which
claimed that the labels would confuse customers and that dietary limits on
added sugars were not scientifically justified.
Added sugars are
those not found in foods before they are produced and packaged. Federal
officials recommend that Americans limit added sugars to just 10 percent of
their daily calories.
Last year, for
the first time, the F.D.A. proposed that companies list added sugars on
nutrition labels, but consumers would have had to do the math themselves to
determine the percentage of calories. Under the new proposal, nutritional
labels would lay out that figure.
determined that 50 grams of added sugars should be the upper dietary limit, or
daily value, for adults and children aged 4 and older.
That means “one
16-ounce soda, and that’s it for added sugars for the day,” said Marion Nestle,
a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York
predicted that the label change would not only “affect the choices of the
subset of people who read labels” but also, more important, “encourage food
manufacturers to look harder for ways to cut down on added sugar in their
Officials at the
Grocery Manufacturers Association, a trade group, criticized as inadequate the
standards the agency used to establish a dietary value for added sugars.
“Before F.D.A. requires that a percent dietary value be declared for
any nutrient, it must assure that the dietary value is based on intake levels
evaluated through an independent, rigorous scientific process,” the
organization said in a statement.
Last year, the
International Food Information Council Foundation, a research organization
financed by the food and beverage industry, conducted a survey in which
consumers were asked to interpret food labels with information on added sugars.
published last month in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
found that the new language confused a majority of the 1,088 respondents, who
mistakenly thought that products with labels listing added sugars contained
more sugar than they actually did. People seemed to think “added sugars” were
in addition to the total sugar listed.
The survey also found that consumers would be less
likely to buy a product
if its nutrition panel listed added sugars.
Source: New York Times