CSPI, Health Groups Want Limits on Added Sugars

February 19, 2013

A petition to FDA calls for nutrition label changes and more.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI; Washington, DC) is petitioning FDA to establish safe levels of added sugars in beverages, and to reconsider the GRAS status for certain added sugars. And public health departments from Baltimore, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Portland (Oregon) are backing the cause.

“The FDA should require the beverage industry to re-engineer their sugary products over several years, making them safer for people to consume, and less conducive to disease,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. According to CSPI’s 52-page petition, FDA stated in 1982 and 1988 that it would reconsider added sugar determinations if sugar consumption increased or new research indicated potential health hazards of added sugar consumption.

CSPI says its petition offers scientific evidence of the detrimental health risks that may come with habitual consumption of added sugars, primarily in beverages. The organization wants FDA to enhance nutrition labels to call out added sugars, while giving manufacturers a timeframe to comply with such standards. CSPI points to ingredients such as natural sweeteners and hydrocolloids for enabling reduced-sugar products that don't compromise on consumer approval.

Soda and sugar drinks as the leading source of calories in the U.S. diet, says CSPI.