New FDA Guidance on Labeling Sweeteners

Everyone is aware of today’s trend towards natural foods. Many manufacturers now substitute refined sugar with other cane products including “evaporated cane juice”. Yesterday the FDA issued a new guidance on labeling foods containing this ingredient. The guidance states that in FDA’s view “evaporated cane juice” is not the common or usual name of any type of sweetener; that the liquid from cane sugar does is not a juice and that the ingredient is appropriately labeled as “dried cane syrup.”

Cane syrup has a standard of identity defined by regulation in 21 CFR 168.130

“(a) Cane sirup is the liquid food derived by concentration and heat treatment of the juice of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) or by solution in water of sugarcane concrete made from such juice.”

A portion of the guidance discusses the notion that “juice” comes only from fruits and vegetables and that sugar cane is neither.  It is interesting to note that FDA’s definition of cane syrup conflicts with this portion of the guidance in that it calls the liquid expressed from sugar cane “juice”.  All regulations are subject to interpretation and at times, ideas that seem clear to one are not clear to another. You can rely on us to provide you with expert help navigating the possible interpretations of regulations and for help labeling sweeteners or any other ingredient. Contact us for all your FDA or USDA regulatory issues.

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