The US Food and Drug Administration banned sugar today in an effort to stop the spread of diabetes and other illnesses related to simple carbohydrates. The ban, effective August 1, 2007, covers table sugar as well as a variety of sugar-related products such as high fructose corn syrup and fructose.
Robert Brackett, Ph.D., the FDA's scientific expert on food safety and nutrients, explained the decision: "We really wanted to ban tobacco, but we were getting a lot of heat on that one. So we decided to go for the next best thing."
Brackett explained that sugar causes a variety of problems in humans, including the recent surge in diabetes cases. Other health problems that should be mitigated by the decision include tooth decay and gingivitis, obesity, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.
Bloggers were forecasting the decision months ago, and are now predicting that red meat, chocolate, and palm oil may be next on the chopping block.
Major sugar consuming companies such as Hershey said that they were prepared for the ban and will begin using non-sugar sweeteners in all their products. Others have reacted in different ways. Congressman Ron Paul, who is running for President, said that the Constitution does not allow for the federal government to impose such restrictions and that such decisions should be left to the states, though he personally does not eat sugar. Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton are teaming up on a march on Washington to announce their opposition to any ban on chocolate, though they had no comment today on the sugar decision.
Rumors that several FDA officials will shortly be working for sucralose manufacturer Tate & Lyle have not been confirmed. The FDA directed all inquiries to Michael Herndon, who did not return calls.