Farm Bill Resolves Issue of Added Sugar Declaration for Single Ingredient Foods

December 18, 2018By Riëtte van Laack

As we previously reported, one of the main components of FDA’s 2016 final rule to update the Nutrition Facts is the mandatory requirement for a declaration and a daily value (DV) for “added sugar” for both sugars added to processed foods as well as foods “packaged as such,” including a bag of table sugar, jar of honey or container of maple syrup.  The requirement to declare added sugars on foods “packaged as such” created confusion.  Industry, particularly honey and maple syrup manufacturers, objected to the requirement and argued that the declaration of added sugars was misleading.  Thus far, FDA had not come up with an acceptable solution to this issue.  A draft guidance allowing a disclaimer yielded many comments and FDA withdrew the draft guidance.  FDA indicated it would act swiftly and promised a final guidance addressing this issue early in 2019.

Well industry need no longer wait for FDA.  The issue has been resolved by Congress.  Under section 12516 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also referred to as the Farm Bill of 2018,

[t]he food labeling requirements under section 403(q) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 343(q)) shall not require that the nutrition facts label of any single-ingredient sugar, honey, agave, or syrup, including maple syrup, that is packaged and offered for sale as a single-ingredient food bear the declaration “Includes X g Added Sugars.”

In other words, single ingredient foods are exempt from the added sugar declaration.  It seems a common-sense solution.