The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has submitted a petition
to the Food and Drug Administration, asking the agency to set limits on the
amount of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) allowed in beverages.
CSPI also implores FDA to make the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)
status of HFCS and sucrose contingent on such limits, which would gradually
be phased-in, while calling on the agency to (i) “revise the ‘Sugars’ line
on Nutrition Facts labels to address ‘added sugars’”; (ii) “set targets for lower
levels of added sugars in foods (apart from soft drinks and other beverages)
that provide significant amounts of sugar to the general populations
or population sub-groups”; (iii) “conduct a public education campaign to
encourage consumers to consume less added sugars”; and (iv) “work with the
food industry and interested federal, state, and local agencies to encourage
reduced use and consumption of added sugars—including encouraging
(1) limits on the sale of over-sized beverages containing added sugars in
restaurants and from vending machines and (2) the development of means of
reducing the use of added sugars.”

In particular, the petition argues that the “current scientific consensus is that added sugars are unsafe at the levels consumed,” according to a February 13, 2013, press release. Although the petition stops short of recommending a “safe” amount of added sugars, CSPI nevertheless cites 10 grams as “as reasonable limit” previously identified by health agencies for use in beverages. “Like a slow-acting but ruthlessly efficient bioweapon, sugar drinks cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” said CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson. “The FDA should require the beverage industry to re-engineer their sugary products over several years, making them safer for people to consume, and less conducive to disease.”

Meanwhile, public health officials from Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles,
Philadelphia, Seattle, and other cities signed a February 13, 2013, letter to
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in support of the petition. “The food
and beverage industries—manufacturers, restaurants, and supermarkets—
market high-sugar foods and beverages aggressively and have made little
effort to reduce the sales and/or the sugar content of those products,” opine
the signatories. “Just as the Institute of Medicine and state and local health
officials have urged regulatory action to lower sodium consumption, we
urge the FDA to (a) adopt regulatory and voluntary measures to reduce the
amounts of added sugars in beverages to safe levels; (b) encourage industry
to voluntarily reduce sugar levels in and the marketing of other high-sugar
foods; and (c) mount, perhaps together with the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and U.S. Department of Agriculture, a high-profile education
campaign to encourage consumers to choose lower-sugar or unsweetened
foods and beverages.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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