On January 4, the FDA issued a draft guidance clarifying the declaration of added sugars on the new Nutrition Facts Label for prepared foods. According to the guidance, foods sweetened with concentrated fruit or vegetable juices are considered “sugar-sweetened foods.” This means processors may be required to declare the sugars as “added.”
Not all foods sweetened with concentrated fruit or vegetable juices are subject to the new rule. The trick lies in how the fruit or vegetable is processed and how much sugar the final product contains.
On processing, the FDA writes:
“If a fruit or vegetable is processed in such a way that it no longer contains all of the components of the portion of a whole fruit or vegetable that is typically eaten (e.g., the pulp from the fruit has been removed) and the sugars have been concentrated,” those are added sugars.
If those sugars “are in excess of what would be expected from an ingredient made from 100% fruits or vegetables,” they must be declared as added sugars.
For reconstituted fruit juice blends:
“If [a] juice blend is reconstituted such that the sugar concentration is less than what would be expected in the same amount of the same type of single strength juice (e.g., less than 100% juice), the added sugar declaration would be zero.” If the sugar concentration in the juice blend is greater than what would be expected in 100%, then the extra sugar must be declared as added.
The agency is accepting comments on the draft guidance for 60 days from publication. See the full guidance for more details.