09.17.15

Reps. Adam Schiff, Rosa DeLauro, and Other Members Support New FDA Proposal to Require Daily Reference Value for Added Sugars on Nutritional Facts Labeling

Effort to Better Inform Consumers Needed in Fight Against Childhood Obesity And Diabetes

Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) joined with a  number of congressional colleagues in writing a letter to Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff in support of the supplemental proposed rule for the Nutrition Facts Label, which would require listing a daily reference value (DRV) for added sugars. In March 2014, the FDA issued a proposed rule which would require “added sugars” be listed on the Nutrition Facts labels, rather than just “sugars.” However, unlike fat, sodium, protein, and other nutritional categories on the label, there was no DRV required for the added sugars category. In July, after the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report was released and recommended a daily limit for added sugars, the FDA issued a supplemental proposed rule for the Nutrition Facts label. This supplemental proposal would require a DRV for added sugars, which would be based on the recommendation that the daily intake of calories from added sugars not exceed 10% of total calories.

Schiff stated: “By labeling added sugars to food labeling, American consumers and parents will be able to make informed decisions about the food they eat and feed their families, and help fight chronic disease including obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease, among other health issues.”

“Specifying a Daily Value for added sugar will move us further forward in assisting people in making healthier choices,” DeLauro said. “Providing needed context for an acceptable intake of added sugars will make it clear to consumers that added sugars should be limited. This will, in turn, help us combat the alarming obesity and diabetes epidemics that our country faces.”

Reps. Schiff and DeLauro were joined in the letter by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Judy Chu (D-CA) and Susan Davis (D-CA).  The full letter is below:

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, M.D.

Acting Commissioner

Food and Drug Administration

10903 New Hampshire Ave.

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Re: Food Labeling: Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels; Revision – Docket No. FDA-2012-N-1210

Dear Acting Commissioner Ostroff:

We appreciate the opportunity to provide public comment in response to revised provisions of the proposed rule for the Nutrition Facts label. In particular, we would like to express our strong support for the proposal to include a daily reference value (DRV) for added sugars.

It is a widely accepted fact among health professionals that higher consumption of added sugars contributes to tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease, among other health issues. The World Health Organization, the American Heart Association and other highly-regarded members of the public health community recommend limiting added sugars to 10% or less of total caloric intake. However, various studies show that most U.S. adults consume between 19.5 and 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day – well over the recommended amount. This is due, in part, to the fact that many foods Americans consume contain added sugars, and often times, it is not apparent to the consumer. In fact, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, almost three-quarters of packaged foods contain added sugar. It is therefore difficult for Americans whose diet consists of large quantities of added sugars to meets nutritional needs while staying within calorie limits.

We are pleased that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recently recommended a daily limit for added sugars, and that the FDA is now reflecting this recommendation in its Nutrition Facts label proposal. We strongly support requiring the labeling of both added sugars per serving and the corresponding daily reference value for added sugars. Providing such information will better enable Americans to make informed decisions about the foods they eat and feed their families.

We commend the FDA on their proposal to include a daily reference value for added sugars and urge FDA to swiftly finalize the rule. Thank you for the consideration of our comments.

Sincerely, 

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A PDF of the letter can be found here.