FDA: ‘Evaporated Cane Juice' is Sugar

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By Julie A. Steinberg

May 26 — “Evaporated cane juice” should be called “sugar” on food labels, the Food and Drug Administration said May 26 in a guidance.

The term gave rise to a slew of suits by consumers alleging it's deceptive wording that hides the presence of sweeteners, making foods appear healthier than they are.

The phrase “evaporated cane juice” is false or misleading because it suggests that the sweetener is “juice” or is made from “juice.” It doesn't reveal that its basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar, the FDA said in a final guidance.

The guidance, published May 26 in the Federal Register (81 Fed. Reg. 33538), also said sweeteners derived from sugar cane shouldn't be called “dried cane syrup.”

FDA’s guidance documents don't establish legally enforceable responsibilities, but describe the agency's current thinking on a topic.

A 2009 draft guidance allowed the phrase “dried cane syrup,” but said the phrase “evaporated cane juice” falsely suggests the sweeteners are juice.

The agency reopened the comment period on the draft guidance in March 2014. The majority of comments objected to the term “dried cane syrup,” the FDA said.

Many consumer suits were put on hold after the FDA sought public input on use of use of ECJ, and are expected to be reactivated.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie A. Steinberg at jsteinberg@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com and Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bna.com

For More Information

The Federal Register notice is available at http://src.bna.com/fmO.

The guidance is available at http://src.bna.com/fmV.