WASHINGTON -- Citizens for Health has filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to require food manufacturers to spell out the type of sweeteners they add to products.
The Washington, DC-based consumer advocacy group claims the FDA's proposed new labeling rules will fail to fully inform consumers and may actually make it difficult to discern between natural sugar and other caloric sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup.
As drafted, the FDA's current label reform proposal groups various sugars and caloric sweeteners under the broad category of "added sugars."
Requiring enhanced labeling detail would mean that each distinct sugar and caloric sweetener used would be listed separately in the Nutrition Facts label. If a product is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, the CFH petition calls for the percentage of fructose it contains to be listed, as well.
Jim Turner, board chair of CFH, noted that the FDA currently only approves the use of high fructose corn syrup with a maximum of 55% fructose. However, he cited reports of food and beverage manufacturers using HFCS with as much as 90% fructose, which is not general recognized as safe by the FDA.
"The CFH petition simply seeks transparency regarding what food products contain because U.S. consumers want and need this information to make healthy choices," said Turner. "Consumers have a right to know what goes into their bodies and it's consistent with the FDA's mandate to compel food manufacturers to provide the public accurate label information."