Vermont sugarers get good news from FDA on maple labeling
September 10, 2018
Vermont Business Magazine
Vermont maple producers and consumers were feeling sweet relief after an announcement by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) signaling that 100% pure maple products will not be forced to display a standard label declaring “added sugars” on the package. Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan hailed the news as good for Vermont businesses and consumers.
“This is a victory for common sense and democracy,” said Donovan. “I want to thank the hundreds of Vermonters who stood up for 100% pure maple products. Your voice made a difference,” he said.
Donovan’s office established a web portal for Vermonters to comment on a proposed “added sugar” labeling guidance. The guidance would have required maple and honey producers to declare “added sugar” content on their labels – even for 100% pure single-ingredient products like maple and honey. More than 3,000 Vermonters and others wrote to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to express their views – which overwhelmingly opposed requiring maple producers to declare adding sugar to pure products. In June,the FDA disclosed(link is external)it would consider changes to its guidance on the issue in light of public input.
According to the FDA announcement yesterday, the final guidance will spare 100% pure maple and honey producers from an “added sugar” declaration:
“We’re currently drafting our final guidance, which we anticipate issuing by early next year, well in advance of the January 2020 compliance date for larger firms for the updated Nutrition Facts label. This guidance will provide a path forward for pure, single-ingredient “packaged as such” products that does not involve the standard “added sugars” declaration on the Nutrition Facts label.”
Maple producers cheered the development. Amanda Voyer, Executive Director of the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers Association said: “This is good news for maple producers and consumers. We support clear labeling and disclosure of nutrition facts, and applaud the FDA for clarifying its position. This announcement means that nobody will be confused. 100% pure means just that: nothing added. We look forward to a final guidance that reflects this change and supports maple products and the families that put pure maple on the table.”
“I want to thank Commissioner Gottlieb and our federal partners at the FDA for listening to Vermonters and other Americans on this important issue,” said Donovan. Donovan also thanked Vermont’s congressional delegation and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture for their advocacy for Vermont consumers and maple producers and announced that his office will keep Vermonters updated on the final guidance at:https://www.uvm.edu/consumer/100-pure-maple-and-democracy(link is external)
An analysis of public comments completed by an intern at the Attorney General’s office is attached, showing the overwhelming number of comments from Vermonters.