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Opinion

Labelling of sugar content under scrutiny

By Judy Buttriss , 17-Aug-2016
Last updated on 17-Aug-2016 at 10:26 GMT2016-08-17T10:26:43Z

Buttriss: ‘PHE now has a set of guiding principles for distinguishing free sugars from others’
Buttriss: ‘PHE now has a set of guiding principles for distinguishing free sugars from others’

Globally, governments are thinking about the challenges of communicating information regarding the sugars contents of foods.

In Britain, Public Health England (PHE) now has a set of guiding principles for distinguishing free sugars from others, to be published shortly.

How this will translate to labelling information remains unclear, but it may be addressed in the forthcoming childhood obesity strategy and through opportunities afforded by Brexit.

US labelling information

Meanwhile, changes to labelling information in the US will provide information about added sugars as well as total sugars.

The Canadian government has proposed sticking with a total sugars declaration, alongside a total sugars reference value of 100g per day, but grouping together all added sugars in the ingredients list, in weight order from most to least, in brackets after the term ‘sugars’.

Standardised servings

As happens in the US, Canada is proposing a move towards standardised servings, using household measures as well as gram values to express nutrient content.

The items captured by the different national approaches and the various sugars definitions differ, as do the reference values used for comparison.

Look out for a discussion in Nutrition Bulletin published later this month.