In response to a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), regarding the role of caloric sweeteners in beverages on consumers' health and asking for limits on sweeteners in drinks, the American Beverage Association (ABA) has issued the following statement:
"Everyone has a role to play in reducing obesity levels – a fact completely ignored in this petition. This is why the beverage industry has worked to increase options and information for consumers.
- Today about 45 percent of all non-alcoholic beverages purchased have zero calories and the overall average number of calories per beverage serving is down 23 percent since 1998.
- Beverage companies voluntarily removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replaced them with lower-calorie choices, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools since 2004.
- Beverage companies voluntarily added calorie labels to the front of all their packages, making it easier than ever for consumers to know how many calories are in their beverage choice before making a purchase.
- Americans are consuming 37 percent fewer calories from sugar in soft drinks and other sweetened beverages than in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We look forward to working with all interested parties in making further strides in bringing down obesity levels and helping consumers make informed decisions for themselves and their families."
The statement is in response to a CSPI petition to the FDA citing unsafe levels of high-fructose corn syrup or sugar in soda and other sugar drinks to be a cause of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. Besides asking the FDA to reduce levels of added sugars in beverages, CSPI's petition urges the FDA to encourage industry to voluntarily reduce added sugars in breakfast cereals, baked goods and other foods. Full petition.