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Thinking Inside the Box

Submitted by: Annie's Naturals

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Sep 30, 2003 – 12:00 AM EST

 

Companies Voluntarily Disclose Added Sugars on Nutrition Facts Label
Call on FDA to Allow Added Sugars as Part of Consumer Campaign

Sep. 30 /CSRwire/ - WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Life Is Sweet Enough campaign, a coalition of food companies, is thinking inside the box - the Nutrition Facts label box that is, - in a new educational campaign aimed at curbing the national obesity crisis. Coalition members asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to offer companies the option of voluntarly disclosing the amount of added sugar in a product's Nutrition Facts label. To move the process along, the companies are disclosing their products' added sugars in giant mock-ups of the proposed Nutrition Facts label. A second component of the campaign: asking the FDA to establish a daily value for added sugar and mandating that this information appear on the Nutrition Facts label. The USDA has recommended that individuals consume no more than 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of added sugar each day. The FDA has not acted upon this recommendation, leaving consumers with little information about the added sugars in their food and beverages.

"Sugar consumption in the U.S. has increased nearly 30 percent in the past twenty years, and the added sugar in soda and soft drinks is at least partly to blame for skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the nation's leading nutrition and food-safety watchdog group. "If Americans could see exactly how much sugar is added to food, they would be able to make smarter choices and take excess sugar out of their diets. The FDA should require Nutrition Facts labels to disclose added sugars."

As part of an overall campaign to help consumers curb added sugars in prepared and packaged foods, the Life Is Sweet Enough coalition has launched a new consumer website, lifeissweetenough.org. The website will provide information about healthy food and lifestyles from health care practitioners as well as provide opportunities to petition the FDA as an individual. The companies -- Annie's Naturals, Naked Juice and Honest Tea -- have joined together to promote their shared belief that that consumers can benefit from ingredient disclosure to help them make sensible choices about diet and nutrition.

In the 80s, consumers started using the Fact labels to count fat grams. More recently, the FDA mandated labeling trans fats. But consumers shouldn't only count fat grams - two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, many from excess calories from sugary sodas, drinks, and snack foods. Just as significantly, consumers don't know that prepared sauces, juices and other so-called healthy foods have hidden sugars. Once consumers see what percentage of their daily sugars are added, they can begin to cut back and look for healthier alternatives.

"The average American consumes 103 pounds of sugar each year - 2/3 more than the amount recommended by the U.S.D.A. and the World Health Organization," said Annie Christopher, founder and product developer for Annie's Naturals, the best-selling brand of salad dressings in the natural food market. "We formed Life Is Sweet Enough to help people learn what is going into their packaged foods, and to help them know when it makes sense and when it's too much. We're asking the FDA to make it a little easier for families to use the Nutrition Facts label as a guide to serve healthy, balanced snacks and meals."

The Life Is Sweet Enough campaign was launched to help provide more information about nutrition and how sugar is currently playing too large of a role in the American diet. Annie's Naturals, the best-selling brand of salad dressing in the natural foods market, Naked Juice, the 100% all-natural, no-sugar added juice and smoothie company and Honest Tea, the nation's leading supplier of natural and organic bottled teas, are leading this effort. CSPI, which does not endorse products, does endorse the coalition's objective of requiring disclosure of added sugar on food labels.

In addition to the educational articles, interactive web site, and petition to the FDA, the campaign will soon launch a Schools Are Sweet Enough section in conjunction with Granite State Fit Kids, aimed at getting junk foods out of schools in exchange for healthier alternatives. For more information, contact Mary Jo Viederman at 603-228-2836 or Lauren Sharfman at 603-763-5951, both of Living Out Loud Communications, or visit lifeissweetenough.org.

For more information, please contact:

Mary Jo Viederman Living Out Loud Communications for Annie's Naturals
Phone: +1-603-228-2836
Lauren Sharfman Living Out Loud Communications for Annie's NaturalsLiving Out Loud Communications for Annie's Naturals
Phone: +1-603-763-5951

 

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