NATIONAL HARBOR, Md — The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy today aimed at increasing consumer awareness of the amount of added sugars, as well as the type of allergens, in food products. Specifically, the AMA is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop front-of-package warning labels for foods that are high in added sugars based on the established recommended daily value. The policy also encourages the FDA to limit the amount of added sugars allowed to be included in food products which also make claims about health or nutrient content on the front of their packages.

Many front-of-package food labels that make health claims about a particular nutrient are often placed on products that contain added sugars that are above the daily recommended value as outlined in the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. These nutrient claims can lead consumers to think a product is healthy despite the product’s level of added sugar.

Under the new policy, the AMA is also encouraging food manufacturers to pursue more obvious packaging distinctions between products that contain the most common food allergens identified in the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act and products that do not contain these allergens.

“The AMA believes that food packaging should include more transparent information about the contents within our food so the healthy choice can be the easy choice for consumers,” said Albert J. Osbahr, III, M.D., a member of the AMA Board of Trustees. “When consumers have access to the amount of sugar they are consuming they may choose foods with less sugar—which can help prevent debilitating chronic medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease which affect millions of Americans.”

The AMA has existing policy to ensure Americans better understand the actual amount of sugar contained in the foods they consume, including policy in support of the FDA’s decision to include added sugars on nutrition labels. The AMA is committed to improving the health of the nation and will continue to further its efforts aimed at reducing the burden of preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes to ensure patients live richer and fuller lives. 

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the premier national organization providing timely, essential resources to empower physicians, residents and medical students to succeed at every phase of their medical lives. Physicians have entrusted the AMA to advance the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health on behalf of patients for more than 170 years.