Proposed nutrition label regulations not sitting well with honey producers

WAUPACA, Wis. (WBAY) - Over the last few years the federal government has been trying to educate consumers about ‘added sugars’ in their diet. In an effort to help us watch those sugars, the U.S Food and Drug Administration recently came up with an updated nutrition facts label on packaged foods.

However, those who keep bees and sell honey are not happy and say putting the words ‘added sugars’ on their labels is misleading since the sugars in honey are natural.

Action 2 News spoke to Kent Pegorsch who has been keeping bees and selling honey for over 40 years now. He is also the president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association.
Pegorsch said this month the FDA has been taking comments from people in the honey and maple industry who want to make it clear to consumers that the sugar in their products is 100% natural, nothing is added.

“What they did now is they put a footnote in the added sugars saying that they're naturally occurring sugars but the footnote is very small at the bottom of the nutritional label so it's kind of hard to really see that it's not natural occurring sugars so that period ended on June 15th,” said Pegorsch.

He said in the U.S, Wisconsin ranks 10th in honey production. It's actually illegal to add sugar to honey here, and although regulations would only directly impact large commercial honey producers Pegorsch said it could hurt the entire industry.

“I do think it affects large and small, and small because it kind of sullies the good name of honey , honey is a 100% pure natural product and it puts questions in people's minds about the purity of honey, that's not good for the whole honey industry,” said Pegorsch.

The FDA has responded to these concerns saying it has received more than 3,000 comments and is working on a "revised approach that makes key information available to consumers in a workable way."