The FDA has issued draft guidance for comment indicating that the results of processing are determinative in assessing whether vegetable or fruit ingredients contribute to a food’s added sugars that must be delineated in the new Nutrition Facts Panels.

The full draft guidance can be found in PDF form here.

Of interest is the following Q&A which includes the references to the final rule and basically identifies that sugars in processed fruits or vegetables in excess of what are in one hundred percent fruits and vegetables then those sugars should be stated as added sugars:

Do sugars found in fruits and vegetables that have been processed to change the form of the fruit or vegetable (e.g., concentrated fruit and vegetable purees, fruit and vegetable pastes, and fruit and vegetable powders) need to be declared as added sugars on the label?

In the Nutrition Facts label final rule (81 FR 33742 at 33833), we excluded whole fruit, fruit pieces, dried fruit, pulps, and purees because they are nutrient rich and maintain the basic properties of a fruit when added to foods, which are not considered to contain added sugars (see response to comment 208 on p. 33835). We also excluded sugars from 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices, and sugars from certain fruit and vegetable juice concentrates used towards the total juice percentage label declaration under certain regulations, fruit juice concentrates used to formulate the fruit component of jellies, jams, and preserves under our standards of identity, and 100 percent juice concentrate sold directly to consumers (e.g. frozen orange juice concentrate).

In the preamble to the Nutrition Facts final rule (81 FR 33742 at 33833 through 33834), we explained that, while foods sweetened with concentrated fruit or vegetable juices can be a part of a healthful diet, the sugars added to the foods by the concentrated fruit or vegetable juice provide additional calories. Over the course of the day, small amounts of calories in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages can add up and make it difficult to balance the amount of calories expended. For these reasons, we consider foods sweetened with concentrated fruit or vegetable juices to be sugar-sweetened foods. We also explained that in determining which sugars should be included in the definition of added sugars, we have considered the presence of added sugars as a component of dietary intake and whether it is consistent with the concept of empty calories, as discussed in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report (Ref. 1) (81 FR 33742 at 33835).

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. 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. Manufacturers may use different terminology in reference to the same or similar ingredients (e.g. concentrated puree or paste) or they may use the same terminology in reference to similar ingredients (e.g. a fruit powder made by extracting and dehydrating the juice of the fruit versus a fruit powder made by pulverizing a dehydrated whole fruit). For this reason, manufacturers should consider whether the ingredient has been processed so that it no longer contains all of the components of the original portion of the whole fruit or vegetable that is typically eaten in addition to being concentrated. If sugars are in excess of what would be expected from an ingredient made from 100 percent fruits or vegetables, those sugars must be declared as added sugars (21 CFR 101.9(c)(6)(iii)). To the extent that manufacturers are processing different ingredients made from whole fruits or vegetables, we would need to consider specific information about how an individual ingredient has been processed when determining if the sugars meet our definition of added sugars for the purpose of nutrition labeling.

As we’ve noted before, the new labels are phased in over the next few years giving manufacturers with over $10 Million in sales until July 26, 2018 to comply and those with less than $10 Million in sales until July 26, 2019.

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