Fancy some evaporated cane juice? The FDA sure doesn't.
What is this evaporated cane juice wizardry, you ask? Well, it's basically sugar. Often referred to as a natural sweetener, evaporated cane juice is derived from the juice of sugar cane, just like the regular stuff that is so bad for us.
And because sugar doesn't exactly have the best rep, some health food brands have instead taken to listing evaporated cane juice as an ingredient in products ranging from yogurt to fruit juices and granola bars. But now, the FDA is drawing a line in the sweet, white sand in response to recent lawsuits involving health food companies Kind and Chobani, who list evaporated cane juice as an ingredient.
The federal food agency is now directly calling out companies and consumers who associate evaporated cane juice with health. This association is "false or misleading because it suggests that the sweetener is 'juice' or is made from 'juice' and does not reveal that its basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar," they wrote in a recent press release.
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Specifically, the FDA took issue with the use of the word "juice" by health companies trying to distance themselves from sugar.
"The use of 'juice' in the name of a product that is essentially sugar is confusingly similar to the more common use of the term 'juice,'" they wrote, adding that the legal definition of juice is "the aqueous liquid expressed or extracted from one or more fruits or vegetables, purees of the edible portions of one or more fruits or vegetables, or any concentrates of such liquid or purée."
Still, these are only recommendations being made by the FDA, meaning that they are of no legal consequence. Instead the goal of this announcement was to help consumers make an informed decision and to make it abundantly clear that evaporated cane juice "is not the common or usual name of any type of sweetener."
That's because it's not "juice," it's just good ol' fashioned sugar.