Coombs Family Farms Advocates for Fair Sweetener Labeling

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 General News
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Supports Recent FDA Statement Acknowledging "Added Sugars" Declaration for Pure Maple Misleading

BRATTLEBORO, Vt., September 12, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Coombs Family Farms, a seventh generation producer and packer

of pure and organic maple, today spoke out about the recent FDA debate on sweetener labels and supported a recent statement from Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. In a statement issued on September 6, 2018, Commissioner Gottlieb called for an updated approach for including added sugar information on Nutrition Facts of pure maple syrup.

In his statement, Commissioner Gottlieb notes,

"While added sugars declared on the updated Nutrition Facts label include sweeteners added to processed foods, they also include foods that are 'packaged as such' including a bag of table sugar, jar of honey or container of maple syrup. We recognized that this new labeling information on 'packaged as such' products may inadvertently lead consumers to think their pure products, such as a jar of honey or maple syrup, may actually contain added table sugar or corn syrup because there are 'added sugars' listed on the label.

"That's why in February 2018, we issued a draft guidance for industry open for public comment that would help clarify the added sugars declaration on the label of pure, single-ingredient 'packaged as such' products like maple syrup and honey…As with any draft guidance, we carefully consider comments submitted to the public docket and feedback from stakeholder meetings and interactions to inform us in issuing our final guidance… We're currently drafting our final guidance, which we anticipate issuing by early next year, well in advance of the January 2020 compliance date for larger firms for the updated Nutrition Facts label. This guidance will provide a path forward for pure, single-ingredient 'packaged as such' products that does not involve the standard 'added sugars' declaration on the Nutrition Facts label."

"While no official resolution has been made, we are heartened by Commissioner Gottlieb's updated statement," said Arnold Coombs, seventh generation sugarmaker and director of sales and marketing for Coombs Family Farms. "It certainly would mislead consumers to think that pure maple products contain added sugars. On behalf of the small family farms that produce and supply Coombs Family Farms pure and organic maple, we feel this would be unfair," Coombs said.

For more than seven generations, Coombs Family Farms has been making pure, organic maple in New England. Coombs Family Farms sources additional maple from over 3,000 small family farms in the U.S. that share its commitment to quality, environment stewardship and sustainable forestry management. By purchasing their syrup, and bringing it to market, Coombs Family Farms supports other small farmers and builds local, rural economies.

Pure maple syrup is made by concentrating the slightly sweet sap of the Acer Saccharum or "sugar" maple tree through a process of heating and evaporation. The sap is collected by "tapping" the trees with small, tree-friendly spouts. It is then gathered and boiled in an evaporator. When the finished boiling syrup is drawn off the pan, it is filtered, and packaged. Pure maple is naturally sweet, with nothing added.

Moreover, in recent years several health benefits have been associated with maple consumption, including controlling blood sugar, better brain and liver health, reducing chronic inflammation, and producing a healthy gut biome. More than 54 compounds with antioxidant activity and potential health benefits have been identified, which is double the amount previously reported. Several of these studies were presented in April 2017 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the largest scientific society in the world. The symposium was organized by Dr. Navindra Seeram, who has been studying the health benefits of maple since 2009 from his laboratory at the University of Rhode Island. These studies are in stark contrast to findings about processed and refined sugars and chemical sweeteners, setting pure maple even further apart from added sugars.

"We applaud the ongoing work of the Vermont Sugarmakers Association in education and advocacy on this topic," continued Coombs. "Together with our fellow sugarmakers, we will continue to voice our concerns about consumer confusion until this matter is resolved."

About Coombs Family FarmsFor seven generations, Coombs Family Farms has produced great-tasting, 100 percent pure and organic maple syrup. Coombs Family Farms sources maple from over 3,000 small family farms that share a commitment to quality, environmental stewardship, and sustainable forestry management. As the number one organic maple brand in the country, Coombs Family Farms takes pride in working with farmers throughout the northeast to help them expand their production of maple syrup, maple sugar, maple candy and maple butter. For further information visit Coombs Family Farms is also on Instagram @coombsmaple and Facebook


SOURCE Coombs Family Farms

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