FDA publishes new Q&A on “0 g Total Sugar” statements | Hogan Lovells

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently added a new Question and Answer to its website related to “0 g total sugars” label statements.

The Q&A, copied below, clarifies that while such statements are considered nutrient content claims, they are not subject to the more specific requirements for “sugar free” claims, including the requirement related to a “not a low calorie food” disclosure.1 FDA issued the statement following threatened and filed litigation alleging that a front panel “0 g total sugars” icon is misleading when not accompanied by a “not a low calorie food” statement.  We view the Q&A as also applying to a “0 g added sugars” statement.  The Q&A states as follows:

Sugar content claims described in 21 CFR 101.60(c), such as “sugar free” and “no sugar,” are required to be accompanied by a statement that the food is “not a reduced calorie food,” “not a low calorie food,” or “not for weight control” if the food is not labeled as “low calorie” or “reduced calorie.” Does 21 CFR 101.60(c) require a statement of the amount of total sugars (“0 g total sugars”), as described in 21 CFR 101.13(i)(3), to be accompanied by those additional statements?

Title 21 CFR 101.60(c) discusses certain sugar content claims and the specific conditions for their use, including the conditions for requiring the accompanying statements “not a reduced calorie food,” “not a low calorie food,” or “not for weight control.” Statements about the amount of the nutrient in a food, which would include “0 g total sugars,” are provided for in 21 CFR 101.13(i), which discusses the specific conditions for their use. Although amount statements are nutrient content claims and would, therefore, have to follow the general requirements for nutrient content claims, amount statements need not follow the requirements provided for specific, individual nutrient content claims as described in Subpart D of 21 CFR 101 (21 CFR 101.54 – 101.67). As such, 21 CFR 101.60(c) does not require “0 g total sugars” amount statements to be accompanied by the additional statements.

References

1 Industry Resources on the Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label, FDA, https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/industry-resources-changes-nutrition-facts-label (last visited Jan. 19, 2022).

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