FDA’s New York District office sends a Notice of Adverse Findings to Pepsico Inc. Labeling for several of the company’s products “are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” the Notice stated. Among the violations listed is: “The term “high fructose corn s,yrup and/or sugar’ is not a appropriate ingredient name. Each ingredients may only be declared if actually present and, if present, must be declared in the proper order of predominance.. .”
FDA denies the 1984 NSDA petition, stating: “Labeling on products that do not include the names of the specific sweeteners used to fabricate the foods misbrand the products under section 403(i) of the act. Firms should take prompt steps to correct such misbranding.” 56 Fed Reg 28607, June 21, 1991. Nevertheless, the soft drink industry chooses to ignore the enforcement actions undertaken by FDA and its rejection of the:NSDA petition.
In response to NSDA’s request, FDA reopens the issue by proposing a special labeling exemption to allow “and/or” declarations of sweeteners only in beverages 58 Fed Reg 2950, January 6, 1993. In seeking comments on this and other ingredient labeling issues FDA does not indicate any change in its existing “and/or” rule or in its enforcement practices.
The Sugar Association comments oppose FDA’s proposal, stating: “At this point the Association confesses to utter frustration with the breakdown of regulatory process with regard to ingredient labeling in soft drinks. We do not understand FDA’s apparent intention to condone the soft drink industry’s longstanding disregard of agency advice, requests and formal warnings, by granting a special privilege based on a petition of questionable merit.”
NSDA supplements it comments on the proposal by submitting a survey of soft drink bottlers purporting to show the need for “and/or” labeling of sweeteners in soft drinks. With “and/or” labeling, NSDA states, “consumers would always know what sweeteners may be in soft drinks.”
The Sugar Association’s response to NSDA’s submission maintains the NSDA’s data show that the proposed exemption would benefit very few companies at the expense of misleading and misinforming millions of consumers. “The NSDA ‘solution’ .. .is no help to consumers at all. This pseudo-solution means that consumers will never know what sweeteners are in soft drinks.
NSDA writes a letter to FDA Commissioner David M. Kessler, reiterating the soft drink industries position on “and/or” labeling and concludes in its final paragraph “Until FDA has made a decision in this area, it would be