Sugar reformulation blighted by restrictions

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Stevia: no-added sugar confusion
Stevia: no-added sugar confusion

Related tags European union Dominic watkins

Restrictions on the use of high intensity sweeteners continue to frustrate food manufacturers trying to reformulate products by reducing added sugar.

In particular, widespread confusion exists over European Commission (EC) regulations governing the use of ‘no added sugar’ claims for food.

The EC regulations are interpreted by some to mean that the wording ‘no added sugars’ prohibits the inclusion of high intensity (low calorie) or other sweeteners.

At odds with the interpretation

However, this seems to be at odds with the interpretation from the UK Department of Health and the EU’s directorate general for health and food safety, DG Santé.

In an attempt to provide some clarity to the arguments, Dominic Watkins, food group head for legal firm DWF, said it has always been the case that the regulation only permits a ‘no added sugar’ claim where the food does not contain any added mono- or disaccharides, or any other food used for its sweetening properties.

“It was widely understood that this would prohibit sweeteners as they are within the definition of food,”​ said Watkins. “However, this frustrates the ability to substitute sugar content with a sweetener that would give consumers the taste benefit without the energy consumption issue.

“There was a proposal to amend the regulation to make it clearer. However, this failed to be passed, in part because it is viewed that this is a strict interpretation and practice varies across the EU.”

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