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AMA seeks warning labels for foods with high added sugar content
California voters overwhelmingly approved a measure (Proposition 12) on November 6 that requires stricter animal During the 2018 American Medical Association (AMA) Interim Meeting, held November 8–13, delegates adopted a new policy aimed at increasing consumer awareness of the amount of added sugars, as well as the type of allergens, in food products. Specifically, the AMA is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop front-of-package warning labels for foods that are high in added sugars based on the established recommended daily value. The policy also encourages the FDA to limit the amount of added sugars allowed to be included in food products that also make claims about health or nutrient content on the front of their packages.
According to the AMA, many front-of-package food labels that make health claims about a particular nutrient are often placed on products that contain added sugars that are above the daily recommended value as outlined in the 2015–2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelinesfor Americans. The association believes that these nutrient claims may lead consumers to think a product is healthy despite the product’s level of added sugar.
Under the new policy, the AMA is also encouraging food manufacturers to pursue more obvious packaging distinctions between products that contain the most common food allergens identified in the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act and products that do not contain these allergens.
“The AMA believes that food packaging should include more transparent information about the contents within our food, so the healthy choice can be the easy choice for consumers,” said Albert J. Osbahr, III, a member of the AMA board of trustees. “When consumers have access to the amount of sugar they are consuming, they may choose foods with less sugar—which can help prevent debilitating chronic medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease which affect millions of Americans.”
The AMA has existing policy to ensure Americans better understand the actual amount of sugar contained in the foods they consume, including policy in support of the FDA’s decision to include added sugars on nutrition labels.