Letter to EFSA pushes for reference values on added sugar

In a letter to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), representatives of the food agencies of five Nordic countries have asked that it looks at recommending reference values for added sugar in food and drink.

Citing recent scientific data which supports the efficacy of limiting the intake of added sugar, the signatories wrote: “Based on recently published scientific studies and in relation to weight gain, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related risk factors, we request scientific assistance in line with Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 in assessing if a dietary reference value for sugar with particular attention to added sugar now can be set.”

They go on to say that EFSA’s latest opinion on the matter was published in 2010 and was based on an assessment of studies until 2008-2009 but that more recent studies into the health effects of dietary carbohydrates and sugars from bodies such as the World Health Organisation should now be taken into consideration.

The 2010 EFSA opinion did give reference values for the intake of total carbohydrates and dietary fibre, however it did not do so for added sugars.

Published online in the EFSA’s register of questions, the letter was signed by the directors director generals of the Swedish National Food Agency, the Finnish Food Safety Authority (EVIRA), Denmark’s National Food Institute (DTU), the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety and the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority.

The full letter can be read online here.