December 5, 2016

Key Members of Congress Stand for Science, Americans’ Health, Against Budgetary Attack

Government Funding Process Could Be Used to Undermine Vital Sugar Policy

Washington (December 5, 2016)—In a new letter, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and other key members of Congress are standing up for a vital public health policy—the upcoming requirement that food manufacturers clearly label products with the amount of sugar they’ve added. These members of Congress are opposing a potential rider to government-funding legislation that would delay this new policy’s implementation.

At a time when powerful interests are looking to undermine safeguards that protect Americans’ health and safety, the Congressional letter is a welcome show of support for science and the public interest, say experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“The FDA did their job this year—they followed the best available science and made a smart policy choice that will help consumers know more about the food they buy,” said UCS analyst Genna Reed. “Congress shouldn’t sneak riders into the budgetary process to undercut the FDA’s efforts to keep Americans healthy and informed.”

The new FDA labeling requirement is based on the findings of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Board that over-consumption of sugar is linked to serious health problems, including obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and heart and liver disease. Today, more than three-quarters of packaged foods contain added sugar.

“Delaying the implementation of the updated Nutrition Facts panel will rob Americans of important information about the food they eat and feed their families,” said Rep. Schiff. “When far too many Americans are being diagnosed with diabetes and afflicted by other diet-related illnesses, we must do all we can to enable Americans to make the best decisions.”

The letter has also been signed by Reps. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; John Conyers, D-Mich.; and Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

As a new administration prepares to take office, leaders in the scientific community will stay on guard for similar attacks on science-based policies that protect Americans.

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.