The FDA says it will look at labeling on products containing added sugar from natural sources such as maple syrup and honey. The decision comes after labeling rules affect products with added sugar from refined cane, corn, and other sweeteners.
The agency recently updated guidelines for the Nutrition Facts label on food and drink products to help consumers better understand the amount and the source of added sugars in their food. The agency recommends no more than 10 percent of daily calories come from added sugars.
But honey and maple syrup fell into a grey area as they are natural sweeteners, unlike high fructose corn syrup. They may provide some health benefits as well — consuming local honey, for example, has been shown to reduce the irritation of seasonal allergies in some people by low-dose exposure to the pollen triggers.
Maple syrup boasts some benefits too including essential minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The maple industry pushed back against the regulations, calling the labeling scheme confusing and misleading. Under the guidelines, even pure maple syrup would have been labeled as an added sugar.
The FDA received more than 3,000 complaints on the guidelines and says it will now look at other ways to include honey and maple syrup without confusing customers.
“The feedback that FDA has received is that the approach laid out in the draft guidance does not provide the clarity that the FDA intended,” the agency said in a statement. “It is important to FDA that consumers are able to effectively use the new Nutrition Facts label to make informed, healthy dietary choices. The agency looks forward to working with stakeholders to devise a sensible solution.”
The guidance regulations come as diabetes and obesity, two diet-related illnesses, hit epidemic levels in the U.S. as well as in a growing number of developing countries.
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