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From Health Law Daily, July 27, 2015

You can be too sweet: FDA proposes ‘added sugar’ daily reference value

By Bryant Storm, JD

The FDA published a supplemental notice for a Proposed rule to further revise proposed amendments to FDA labeling regulations regarding nutrition information on the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels (NFL/SFL) for conventional foods and dietary supplements. The Proposed rule revises provisions of a March 2014 Proposed rule (79 FR 11880, March 3, 2014) to include Daily Reference Values (DRVs) for added sugars and the energy intake related to added sugars. The revisions also propose text for the footnotes to be used on the Nutrition Facts label. The FDA will accept comments on the revised provisions through October 13, 2015 (Proposed rule, 80 FR 44303, July 27, 2014).

Proposed rule. The 2014 NFL/SFL Proposed rule proposed a significant overhaul in the way the FDA requires nutrition information to be presented on food products. The changes, which were proposed in order to bring labeling information into step with current scientific information and consumer needs, included proposals to: remove the “calories from fat” designation, require an added sugars declaration, include additional vitamin information, and reduce the DRV for sodium. The Proposed rule also proposed cosmetic changes to the Nutrition Facts label in order to make the information consumers rely on most more prominent (see FDA proposes nutrition label overhaul, March 3, 2014.

Footnote. As part of the NFL/SFL Proposed rule, the agency indicated its intention to remove the requirement for the footnote listing the reference values for certain nutrients for 2,000- and 2,500-calorie diets and to replace that information with a new footnote. Following consumer research on that issue, the FDA is proposing “text that would explain that the % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet and that 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.” The footnote is believed to be a positive revision of the current footnote because it defines “Daily Value” (DV). Consumer studies showed the proposed footnote to be more helpful than the current footnote.

Added sugars. Based upon recent findings in the ‘‘Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,’’ the FDA is proposing to establish a DRV for added sugars of 50 grams (g) for children four years of age and older and adults and of 25 g for children one through three years of age. The addition of the DRV for added sugars would come alongside a requirement to include the DV for added sugars on Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels. Additionally, the FDA is considering whether to change the “Sugar” line item on the Nutrition Facts label to “Total Sugars” in light of the additional “Added Sugars” line item which will be indented under the sugar heading.

Exemptions. The supplemental notice also proposed to provide an exemption to the footnote requirement for foods that can use the terms ‘‘calorie free,’’ ‘‘free of calories,’’ ‘‘no calories,’’ ‘‘zero calories,’’ ‘‘without calories,’’ ‘‘trivial source of calories,’’ ‘‘negligible source of calories,’’ or ‘‘dietary insignificant source of calories.” The FDA believes that the DV references for a 2000-calorie diet will not be meaningful for these products.

Comments. The FDA is only seeking comments on a limited set of issues raised in the supplemental notice. Specifically, the agency aims to facilitate discussion regarding (1) new science regarding added sugars; (2) the proposed DRV for added sugars; (3) the use of the term “Total Sugars” as opposed to “Sugars;” (4) the proposed footnote text; (5) the footnote exemptions; (6) whether the footnote on the SFL should be changed; and (7) whether there should be a footnote on labels of food represented for infants seven through 12 months of age or children one through three years of age, and, if so, what that footnote should say.

MainStory: TopStory LabelingNews FoodNews FoodStandardsNews FDCActNews

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