Rudd Center recommends clear sugar labeling of children’s beverages
The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, a nonprofit research and public policy organization at the University of Connecticut, on Monday recommended that beverage manufacturers clearly indicate that products contain added sugars and/or low-calories sweeteners and state the percent juice content on the front of children’s drink packages.
The Rudd Center made the recommendations as part of a new report called Children’s Drinks F.A.C.T.S. (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score) on the sales, marketing, and nutrition content of children’s drink.
The report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found:
▪ Sweetened drinks dominated children’s drinks sales in 2018.
▪ Beverage companies spent millions to advertise children’s drinks with added sugars in 2018, mostly to kids under age 12.
▪ Most sweetened children’s drinks contained low-calorie sweeteners, like stevia and sucralose, despite expert recommendations against serving these to children. Packages don’t mention low-calorie sweeteners on the front, so parents may not even know they’re included in the product.
▪ Despite industry self-regulation and public pressure, beverage companies continue to suggest sweetened drinks are healthier than they are with packaging that contains confusing claims and fruit images on the front.
▪ Among other recommendations, the researchers are calling on beverage manufacturers to clearly indicate that products contain added sugars and/or low-calories sweeteners and state the percent juice content on the front of children’s drink packages.
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The House passed S.4054, the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020, by voice vote.