FDA issues new guidance for added sugar declaration on single-ingredient sugar and cranberry products

June 24, 2019

FDA has issued a new guidance on food labels for single-ingredient sugars and syrups, as well as certain cranberry products, after producers of single-ingredient sugars raised concerns about how consumers would perceive Added Sugars declarations on product labels. 

FDA has issued a new guidance on food labels for single-ingredient sugars and syrups, as well as certain cranberry products, after producers of single-ingredient sugars such as powdered sugar, maple syrup, and honey raised concerns about how consumers would perceive Added Sugars declarations on product labels. New requirements for Nutrition Facts labels require that companies declare the amount of and the percent Daily Value for Added Sugars. However, producers were concerned that consumers would misinterpret Added Sugars to mean that the manufacturer put additional sugar into the product. Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill stated that Nutrition Facts labels cannot require the declaration of the grams amount of Added Sugars for single-ingredient sugars, honey, agave, and syrups, including maple syrup.

In order to ease these concerns and fulfill legislative requirements, the final guidance for single-ingredient sugar products explains that nutrition facts labels for single-ingredient sugars will still include a line for Total Sugars with the amount per serving expressed in grams, but the line below that reserved for Added Sugars will only need to provide a percent Daily Value for Added Sugars. Additionally, FDA is exercising enforcement discretion to allow for the use of a “†” symbol immediately following the Daily Value declaration that will lead consumers to a statement about the gram amount of Added Sugars as well as information about how that amount of sugar contributes to the percent Daily Value.

Here is an example from FDA of what that statement might look like: “One serving adds 10 g of sugar to your diet and represents 20% of the Daily Value for Added Sugars.”

For cranberry products, manufacturers argued that because the fruit is naturally tart, they must add sugar to make it more palatable, but in most cases the total sugar content is equivalent to other fruit juices with no sugars added. Therefore, FDA is exercising enforcement discretion in cases where the added sugars of cranberry products does not exceed the sugar content of comparable fruit juices to allow the Nutrition Facts label to include a symbol that leads consumers to a statement outside the Nutrition Facts label indicating that sugar was added because cranberries are naturally tart.

Single-ingredient sugar and cranberry product manufacturers impacted by the guidance have until July 1, 2021 to comply with the new label requirements.