About Us

Campaign for Sweetener Transparency

Supporting Accuracy in Labeling

Consumers want to know more about their food than ever before – where it comes from, what’s in it and how it was produced. That has resulted in a surge of more and better information on food labels in recent years. However, there remains a significant gap in food labeling when it comes to the use of low- and no- calorie sweeteners. The Sugar Association believes that consumers have a right to know what is in the food and drinks they consume. We support labeling that is accurate and not misleading for consumers.

Citizen Petition

“Consumers deserve to know what is in their food so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families,” said Courtney Gaine, PhD, RD, President and CEO of the Sugar Association.  “These changes by FDA will bring the complete transparency in sweetener labeling that we know consumers want, deserve and should expect.”

The Petition asks the FDA to require the following changes to food labeling by issuing official industry guidance supported by the Agency’s enforcement discretion:

  1. Add the term “Sweetener” in parentheses after the name of all non-nutritive sweeteners in the ingredient list.
  2. For children’s food and beverages, indicate the type and quantity of non-nutritive sweeteners, in milligrams per serving, on the front of food packages.
  3. For products making a sugar content claim (i.e. No/Low/Reduced Sugar), require the disclosure, “Sweetened with [name of Sweetener(s)]” beneath the claim.
  4. Disclose the potential gastrointestinal side effects from the consumption of sugar alcohols and some sugar substitutes in foods at the lowest observed effect levels.
  5. Ensure all sugar content claims related to sugar and sugar substitutes are truthful and non-misleading.

Link to FDA Citizen Petition

Link to Supplement to Petition

Link to Petition Docket

Press Releases

Fact Sheets


    To download a pdf of the FAQ, click here.

  • Q: What exactly are you asking the FDA to do?
    A: We are asking the FDA to make it easier for consumers to know when alternative sweeteners are in their food and beverage products and help ensure that any sugar content claims are truthful and non-misleading. We’re also asking for clear labeling of low- and no-calorie sweeteners in children’s products. These changes will enable consumers to clearly see when sweeteners are used.
  • Q: Why is this being done now?
    A: We view the requests in this Petition as items that should have been included by the FDA when updating the Nutrition Facts label in 2016. The asks are a natural extension of the FDA’s focus on transparency and improving consumer access to information.

    Additionally, given FDA’s new requirement to label added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label, there has been a sharp increase in the use of alternative sweeteners in packaged food, unbeknownst to many consumers. There has also been an increase in the marketing and use of sugar content claims with foods containing alternative sweeteners.

    As it stands, we have an alternative sweetener labeling scheme that is incomplete, lacks transparency and is misleading and confusing to consumers. Our proposed changes will provide consumers with clear and accurate information about the use of low- and no- calorie sweeteners in consumer products and help them make more informed decisions for themselves and their families.

  • Q: What would this mean for consumers?
    A: If FDA were to implement these changes, it would mean that consumers could easily find accurate information about all the nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners used in their products, allowing them to make informed decisions when they shop. For parents, not only would the presence of sweeteners be disclosed on children’s products, but the quantity would be as well—something the American Academy of Pediatric called for in November 2019.1
  • Q: What actions are expected and what is the timing?
    A: We submitted the original Citizen Petition to FDA in June 2020. FDA responded in November 2020 acknowledging receipt of the Citizen Petition and stating the agency was not able to reach a decision given other agency priorities and resources.

    In March 2022, we submitted a Supplement to the original Citizen Petition presenting new supporting information and data.

    Consumers, food companies and other interested parties can continue to provide comments to FDA in support of our request. Comments can be submitted to the docket, FDA-2020-P-1478. Once FDA has the opportunity to complete their review of the Petition and if changes are determined necessary, the agency will set a date when food and beverage manufacturers must comply with new labeling changes.

  • 1. Baker-Smith CM, et al. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition. Pediatrics. 2019;144(5):e20192765.


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Nutrition Labeling

Since there is nothing added to sugar, bags and boxes of sugar are exempt from bearing a grams of added sugars declaration.

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