WASHINGTON — The effects of processing will determine whether fruit and vegetable ingredients contribute to a product’s added sugars, which must be listed in an upcoming new Nutrition Facts Panel, according to draft guidance issued Jan. 4 by the Food and Drug Administration.
If sugars in the processed fruit or vegetable ingredient are in excess of what would be expected from 100% fruit or vegetables, those sugars must be declared as added sugars.
“If the ingredient contains all of the components of a whole fruit or vegetable, but has been processed so that the plant material is physically broken down into smaller pieces or water is removed, we would not consider the sugars contributed from the portion of the fruit or vegetable that is typically eaten which is used to make such an ingredient to be added sugars,” the F.D.A. said. “However, 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, the sugars in such an ingredient are consistent with how we have considered the sugars in fruit juice concentrate because the ingredient is a concentrated source of sugars and contributes additional calories to a food when added as an ingredient without additional water.”
The labeling of added sugars is included in a final F.D.A. rule called “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplements Facts Labels” that was published in the May 27, 2016, issue of the Federal Register. Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales must be in compliance with the new labeling rules by July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales have until July 26, 2019.
The final rule changes “sugars” to “total sugars” in the Nutrition Facts Panel and requires the amount of “added sugars” to be indented and appear below “total sugars.”
The final rule defines added sugars as sugars that either are added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100% fruit or vegetable juice of the same type. The final rule excludes whole fruit, fruit pieces, dried fruit, pulps and purees as meeting the definition of added sugars.
The F.D.A. also addressed fruit juice blends in its Jan. 4 guidance. If the 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, the added sugar declaration would be zero. However, if the sugar concentration is greater, the amount of the excess sugar must be declared as added sugars.
The loss of water during processing also should be accounted for to reflect the concentration of the fruit juice ingredient.The F.D.A. will accept comments on the draft guidance for 60 days following the publication of the guidance in the Federal Register. Electronic comments on the draft guidance may be sent to www.regulations.gov. Written comments may be sent to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. All comments should be identified with the docket number Docket No. FDA-2016-D-4414 listed in the notice of availability that publishes in the Federal Register.