About Us

Campaign for Sweetener Transparency

Supporting Accuracy in Labeling

Consumers want to know more about their food than ever before – where it comes from, what’s in it and how it was produced. That has resulted in a surge of more and better information on food labels in recent years. However, there remains a significant gap in food labeling when it comes to the use of low- and no- calorie sweeteners. The Sugar Association believes that consumers have a right to know what is in the food and drinks they consume. We support labeling that is accurate and not misleading for consumers.

Citizen Petition

“Consumers deserve to know what is in their food so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families,” said Courtney Gaine, PhD, RD, President and CEO of the Sugar Association.  “These changes by FDA will bring the complete transparency in sweetener labeling that we know consumers want, deserve and should expect.”

The Petition asks the FDA to require the following changes to food labeling by issuing official industry guidance supported by the Agency’s enforcement discretion:

  1. Add the term “Sweetener” in parentheses after the name of all non-nutritive sweeteners in the ingredient list.
  2. For children’s food and beverages, indicate the type and quantity of non-nutritive sweeteners, in milligrams per serving, on the front of food packages.
  3. For products making a sugar content claim (i.e. No/Low/Reduced Sugar), require the disclosure, “Sweetened with [name of Sweetener(s)]” beneath the claim.
  4. Disclose the potential gastrointestinal side effects from the consumption of sugar alcohols and some sugar substitutes in foods at the lowest observed effect levels.
  5. Ensure all sugar content claims related to sugar and sugar substitutes are truthful and non-misleading.

Link to FDA Citizen Petition

Link to Petition Docket

Press Releases

Fact Sheets

FAQ

  • To download a pdf of the FAQ, click here.
  • Q: What exactly are you asking the FDA to do? A:  We are asking the FDA to use its enforcement discretion to extend labeling transparency to low- and no- calorie sweeteners, increasing consumer awareness off the presence of these ingredients on food and beverage packages, with extra measures taken on children’s products, and mandate the way these ingredients are disclosed on food and beverage packages, with extra measures taken on children’s products.  The changes we are asking for will enable consumers to clearly see what sweeteners are used in products they purchase and consume and help ensure that any sugar content claims made on food packages are truthful and non-misleading.
  • Q: Why is this being done now? A:  We view the requests in this Petition as items that should have been included by FDA when updating the Nutrition Facts label in 2016 – action that corrects an oversight. The asks we have laid out are a natural extension of the label reform, which focuses on transparency and improving consumer access to information.Additionally, given FDA’s new requirement to label added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label, there has been a sharp increase in the use of alternative sweeteners in packaged food, unbeknownst to many consumers. There has also been an increase in the marketing-of and use-of sugar content claims of foods containing those sweetening ingredients.As it stands, we have an alternative sweetener labeling scheme that is incomplete, lacks transparency and is misleading and confusing to consumers. Our proposed changes will provide consumers with clear and accurate information about the use of low- and no- calories sweeteners in consumer products and help them make more informed decisions for themselves and their families, particularly for children.
  • Q: What does this mean for consumers?A:  This is great news for consumers!  Once the changes take effect, they can easily find accurate information about all the nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners used in their favorite products and make informed decisions when they shop. For parents, not only will the presence of sweeteners be disclosed on children’s products, but the quantity will be as well – something the American Academy of Pediatrics called for in November 2019.
  • Q: What actions are expected and what is the timing?A: We submitted the original Citizen Petition to FDA in June 2020. FDA responded in November 2020 acknowledging receipt of the Citizen Petition and stating the agency was not able to reach a decision given other agency priorities and resources.Consumers, food companies and other interested parties can continue to provide comments to FDA in support of our request. Comments can be submitted to the docket, FDA-2020-P-1478. Once FDA has the opportunity to complete their review of the Petition and if changes are determined necessary, the agency will set a date when food and beverage manufacturers must comply with new labeling changes.

News

Product Examples

Peanut butter nutrition label

graphics-Oatmeal

Graphic - Pudding

Gummy bears

About Us
Nutrition Policy

Nutrition Labeling

Since there is nothing added to sugar, bags and boxes of sugar are exempt from bearing a grams of added sugars declaration.

Learn More

Stay in Touch

Sign Up