the sugar association

(Washington, D.C. – September 22, 2022) Nearly 19,000 individuals and organizations – including parents, registered dietitians, and non-governmental organizations – continue to press the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to enact sweeping reform of laws governing the labeling of artificial sweeteners in packaged food, blaming weak and outdated federal regulations for consumer confusion as the use of low- and no- calorie sweeteners continue to skyrocket.

“Under the FDA’s current labeling requirements, it is far too easy to mask the use of artificial sweeteners in packaged food and utilize misleading sugar content claims, confusing consumers and making it harder for families that want to know what’s in their food,” said P. Courtney Gaine, PhD, RD, president and CEO of the Sugar Association.  “We urge the FDA to take action on our Citizen Petition immediately to provide consumers the transparency they are looking for, in turn boosting consumer trust and confidence in the foods they buy and eat.”

The number of new food product launches each year containing alternative sweeteners has increased by 832% since 2000, with 300% growth in the prevalence of products with alternative sweeteners in just the last five years.

The Sugar Association petitioned FDA in June 2020 to increase transparency on food labels about the use of alternative sweeteners and stop misleading labeling claims about added sugars content. The data laid out in the petition demonstrate that the failure to provide transparency through clear ingredient labeling renders many labels misleading and emphasizes the need for immediate action as new and reformulated products that fail to provide clear ingredient labels continue to enter the marketplace as manufacturers increasingly look for alternatives to real sugar.

To date, nearly 19,000 consumers have signed an online petition to the FDA seeking artificial sweetener labeling reform, and more than 240 individuals, including dozens of registered dietitians, have entered official public comments in the FDA public docket for the Association’s Citizen Petition.

In addition, organizational support for greater transparency around alternative sweetener labeling continues to grow:

“The FDA’s rules for alternative sweetener labeling are antiquated and mislead consumers about what is really happening in the food supply.  Further agency delay on this important issue will make the problem worse.  Next week’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition & Health provides a perfect opportunity for the Biden Administration and the FDA to show they stand with consumers in championing transparency around what is in their foods by kicking off an alternative sweetener labeling reform process,” concluded Gaine.

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The Sugar Association, founded in 1943, is the scientific voice of the U.S. sugar industry. The association is committed to making a difference by continuously supporting scientific research and sharing its knowledge that there’s more to sugar by increasing consumer understanding of and confidence in the role that real sugar plays in a nutritious, balanced and enjoyable diet. The Sugar Association represents nearly 12,000 beet and cane sugar growers, as well as processors and refiners of sugar. The U.S. sugar industry generates 142,000 jobs in 22 states and contributes $20 billion to the economy annually. For more information, visit www.sugar.org, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and connect with us on Facebook.

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