Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

New added sugar labeling policy could be sweet news for FDA, consumers

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced a mandatory added-sugar labeling policy for packaged foods and beverages, set to take effect between 2020 and 2021.

And it could be a sweet result for the FDA.

The FDA says the new policy could be a cost-effective way to generate important health gains and cost-savings for consumers and the health-care system.

That comes from a study by researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and the University of Liverpool.

The FDA made several changes to the Nutrition Facts label. Changes included adding the grams and percent Daily Value of added sugar content.

The American Beverage Association (ABA) lauded the new FDA policy.

“America’s beverage companies support nutrition transparency. We believe people should have clear and understandable nutrition facts about foods and beverages so that they can make informed choices that are right for themselves and their families,’’ ABA spokesman William Dermody told the FDA Reporter.

According to the ABA, beverage companies have gone beyond required labeling by taking steps to ensure consumers get understandable information on nutrition.

For instance,

  • America’s beverage companies in 2010 announced that they would begin placing prominent, clear calorie labels on the very front of every bottle, can and pack produced. The voluntary initiative was launched in support of former first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign.
  • Beverage companies launched the Calories Count Beverage Vending Program in 2013 to make it easy for consumers to check the calories of their beverages when making selections, and to remind them that beverage calories matter. “Calories Count — Check then Choose” messages were placed on the front of vending machines and vending machines buttons were updated to include calorie information for each choice.
  • Beginning in 2010, beverage companies voluntarily adopted the serving size changes that FDA announced today, giving our consumers more relevant nutrition information on our package labels years ahead of the FDA deadline. With FDA’s approval, beverage companies redesigned thousands of package labels to reflect a 12-ounce serving size. Only packages for juice and juice drinks continue to use an 8-ounce serving size, as directed by the FDA.
Beverage companies also claim they are pro-actively working nationwide to help Americans reduce the calories they get from beverages. One initiative has a goal of reducing beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent nationally by 2025.

The ABA and its member companies joined with former first lady Michelle Obama for “Drink Up!,” the 2013 initiative launched by the Partnership for a Healthier America to promote water consumption. The “Drink Up” logo was placed on bottled water, packaging, company trucks and in advertising to help boost Mrs. Obama’s campaign to get Americans to drink more water.

America’s beverage companies also claim they have voluntarily reduced calories from beverages sold in schools by 90 percent through the national School Beverage Guidelines, in which companies agreed voluntarily to remove full-calorie soft drinks from schools and replace them with more lower-calorie options and smaller portions sizes.

With its new label, the FDA claims the new policy could curb cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and save $31 billion in net health-care costs and $61.9 billion in societal costs. Policy costs were estimated to be $1.7 billion.

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US Food and Drug Administration

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