The CSPI is urging action on sugar levels in soda

The CSPI is urging action on sugar levels in soda

Calls have come for the US Government to set a "safe level" for added sugars in soft drinks, prompting a defence from an industry trade body.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched a 54-page petition with the US Food and Drug Administration today (13 February) urging it to establish a safe limit on high-fructose corn syrup and other sugars in beverages. The group argued that "unsafe" levels of sugars in drinks is causing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. 

In a press conference today, a CSPI representative said it recognised that sugar is not a toxin, but added: "It's the over-consumption that is par for the course in the US that we are concerned about."

However, the American Beverage Association said in a statement: "Everyone has a role to play in reducing obesity levels - a fact completely ignored in this petition. This is why the beverage industry has worked to increase options and information for consumers."

It flagged that around 45% of all soft drinks purchased in the US have zero calories and the "overall average number of calories per serving is down 23% since 1998".

In the US, the soft drinks industry is facing increasing scrutiny as concerns over obesity grow. New York City is seeking to ban the sale of large high-sugar soft drinks. Last month the Coca-Cola Co launched a TV ad addressing the issue of obesity, admitting it has an "important role" to play in the fight against the problem.