Health & Wellness

That 'evaporated cane juice' is just plain sugar, FDA says

Evaporated cane juice. It sounds so much more natural and less fattening, doesn’t it?

But it’s not, and companies need to knock it off, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. Evaporated can juice is sugar, plain and simple, and food labels need to be honest about it.

The FDA released its final guidance on the issue which, not surprisingly, has been controversial. Companies that use the term on the label say it’s not quite the same as table sugar.

“The FDA’s view is that the term ‘evaporated cane juice’ is false or misleading because it suggests that the sweetener is fruit or vegetable juice or is made from fruit or vegetable juice, and does not reveal that the ingredient’s basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar,” the agency said in a statement.

The agency is also asking for “a truthful, non-misleading descriptor to distinguish the ingredient from other cane-based sweeteners” and says a temporary, stick-on label is OK for now.

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Several groups have filed suit against retailers and food manufacturers over the use of the term, saying it’s misleading. Federal judges have stayed the suits while they wait for the FDA to issue the final guidance.

The FDA also recently confronted hidden sugars in its new nutrition label requirements.

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The new labels will have to give details on added sugar in a product and to say straight up if a serving of the food exceeds the recommended intake of sugar, which is less than 10 percent of all the calories you eat in a day. The decision angered the sugar industry.

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