Thirty-years ago the number of ingredients used to sweeten foods and beverages could be counted on one hand. Today, there are 25 ingredients used to replace sugar. Regardless whether you think this change benefits our food supply or not, there is no question that consumer understanding of what is sweetening their foods and beverages has failed to keep pace with this dramatic change.Yes, as Marion Nestle's blog Food Politics points out this week, under the headline "politics makes strange bedfellows," this public interest manifesto comes from the Sugar Association. The sugar industry organization's slogan is "sweet by nature."
Today many foods, even foods that do not claim to be sugar-free, now contain artificial sweeteners. To assist consumers in making informed choices about what is sweetening the products they purchase, the Sugar Association petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting changes to labeling regulations on sugar and alternative sweeteners. In this petition we asked that artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols be identified on the front of the package along with the amounts, similar to what is required in Canada.
If it is important to you to know if the product you purchase contains artificial sweeteners, let your congressional representatives know that FDA needs to take action on this important consumer issue.
See related coverage of artificial sweetener labeling policy on U.S. Food Policy this March.