The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has told a California federal court that the agency will not issue guidance until 2016 about the use of “evaporated cane juice” (ECJ)—which plaintiffs nationwide assert is merely sugar—on food and beverage labeling. Swearingen v. Late July Snacks LLC, No. 13-4324 (N.D. Cal., agency letter filed July 13, 2015); Swearingen v. Healthy Beverage LLC, No. 13-4385 (N.D. Cal., agency letter filed July 13, 2015). The court issued an order in May 2015 requesting FDA to indicate whether the agency would issue guidance within 180 days.
“FDA is actively working on a final guidance to address this issue,” Associate Commissioner for Policy Leslie Kux writes. “However, because of competing priorities, FDA cannot commit to issuing a decision within 180 days. . . . We have received a substantial number of comments and extensive amounts of supporting materials. FDA is obligated to review and consider all of this material under its GGP regulation before issuing final guidance . . . . The Agency currently anticipates that a final guidance will issue before the end of 2016.”