US regulators propose detailed sugar labels

Washington, July 25

US regulators on Friday proposed adding more detailed sugar labels on packaged food, so that the amount would be expressed as a percentage of the daily recommended limit.

The proposal by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now open for a 75-day comment period.

“This would fill a gap by providing the same valuable content already available to consumers for other nutrients,” said Susan Mayne, FDA’s director of the Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

The daily recommended amount for sugars would be set at 50 grams of added sugars for adults and children age four and older, and 25 grams for children aged one to three.

“For example, a consumer who drinks a 20-ounce sugared beverage may be surprised to know it contains about 66 grams of added sugar, which would be listed on the label as 132 per cent of the daily value,” Mayne wrote in a blog post.

Labels currently contain information on saturated fat, dietary fibre and sodium, as well as certain nutrients, but not on recommended sugar intake as a percentage of daily value. Health experts say sugar increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

The FDA proposal was welcomed by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) a consumer group, which described it as ‘solidly grounded in science’.