New Guidance on Labeling of Added Sugars

July 5, 2019



Jennifer Wessel, JD, MPH
Senior Policy Analyst and Data Privacy Officer

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On June 18, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final guidance on the declaration of added sugars on food labels for honey, maple syrup, and certain cranberry products. The guidance provides clarification for companies that produce single-ingredient sugars and syrups or cranberry products. The new label for these products will include a line for total sugars, expressed in grams, with a line below it providing a “percent daily value” for added sugars ― i.e., the percentage of a daily allowance of added sugars that one serving contains.

On May 27, 2016, the FDA revised the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect updated scientific information. The Nutrition Facts label final rule includes the declaration of added sugars in grams and the percent daily value. Some single-ingredient products, such as a bag of sugar or a jar of honey, meet the FDA’s definition of added sugars. However, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the “Farm Bill”), states that packages of single-ingredient products are not required to declare the amount of added sugars, which has created confusion for producers.

The June 2019 guidance addresses this confusion. Manufacturers are encouraged to use a “†” symbol after the percent daily value declaration for added sugars that refers consumers to a statement about the grams of added sugars. The Farm Bill did not change the requirement to include the percent daily value for added sugars.

The final rule on the new Nutrition Facts label requires manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales to switch to the new label by January 1, 2020; manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have until January 1, 2021, to comply. Manufacturers of single-ingredient products have until July 1, 2021 to make the changes.

Many people consume more sugar than they realize. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest source of calories and added sugar in the U.S. diet. One of the nine priorities of the Healthy Active Arkansas initiative is sugar-sweetened beverage reduction (SSBR); the new Nutrition Facts label will make it easier for consumers to make informed food choices that support a healthy diet. Learn more about the SSBR priority area here.

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