A U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposal for food labels to list amounts of added sugar along with recommended consumption levels has been met with strong opposition from the food and beverage industries.
Under the proposal, labels would have to indicate "added sugars," defined as sugar not already present in the food before its production and packaging.
The FDA also wants manufacturers to include information on labels about what percentage of a person's daily recommended sugar intake was represented by that added sugar.
"The FDA has a responsibility to give consumers the information they need to make informed dietary decisions for themselves and their families," said Susan Mayne, director of the agency's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Labels already require listing the percentage of a daily recommended limit for total fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, total carbohydrate, calcium, fiber and iron, she noted.
Concerns about the health impact of sugar in diets warranted the new proposals, Mayne said.
"For the past decade, consumers have been advised to reduce their intake of added sugars, and the proposed percent daily value for added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label is intended to help consumers follow that advice," she explained.
FDA recommendations for children age four and above and adults is to limit intake of added sugars to 50 grams per day.
Response from the food and beverage industries and their trade groups was immediate.
The Sugar Associations released a statement charging the FDA with "making assertions that lack adequate scientific evidence" in making their proposal.
The FDA's recommendations are based on scientific evidence in the government's 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report that is "limited and weak," the statement said.
"The fact is that the preponderance of science and the data on caloric sweeteners do not support a suggested limit on sugars intake," it said.
The FDA says it will seek public comment on its added sugar content proposal for 75 days before issuing a final rule.
People wishing to comment can study the proposal in depth on an FDA webpage.
The proposal is a supplement to the original FDA move to update the Nutrition Facts label on foods, dating to March 2014, which called for listing added sugars but did not include the declaration of the percent of daily value included in the supplement.
In addition to accepting public comment on the new supplemental proposal, the FDA says it is reopening the comment period on the original 2014 proposal for 60 days.