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September 27, 2005 12:03 AM

Broken: Apple sauce label

Broken_apple_sauceJonathan Langer writes:

I cut this off of a label of seperately wrapped apple sauce cups. Apparently the product is 'unsweetened', yet it is 'sweetened' with Splenda, an artificial sweetener.


unsweetened is actually a word from an obscure african language, meaning 'very good'.

Posted by: gmangw at September 27, 2005 12:25 AM

mabye they mean unsweetened in the urest sense of the word...

Posted by: weesnaw at September 27, 2005 12:38 AM

This irritates the heck out of me - it is happening across the industry. There's been several food items I've bought that were unsweetened and then turned out to have splenda or aspartame in them. I get a headache and feel lousy when I taste that aspartame stuff, so it really annoys me.

Posted by: J. Scott at September 27, 2005 01:05 AM


Seeing a word on packaging immediately adjacent to its opposite gives me a thrill of broken-ness.

Other options for Unsweetened:


Sugar Free

Low Calorie

Natural flavor

No Sugar Added


(nothing) - the best option of all. Just "Applesauce, sweetened with Splenda"

Posted by: AndrewT at September 27, 2005 04:25 AM

I've also purchased "fragrance-free" products with "fragrance" listed in the ingredients. How do companies get away with this sort of thing?!

Posted by: ambrocked at September 27, 2005 05:23 AM

regular unsweetened applesauce is the best.

Posted by: Ben at September 27, 2005 06:00 AM

Unsweetened Apple Sauce! (not)

Posted by: Fuzzy at September 27, 2005 08:12 AM

I just want a snack without "may cause anal leakage" on the label.

Posted by: Citizen Of Trantor at September 27, 2005 09:57 AM

Splenda got sued by various companies for using the term "sweetener" so legally they cannot call splenda a sweetener even though that's exactly what it does. That means the juice *is* unsweetened. It contains no artificial sweeteners, but it does contain splenda. The juice maker couldn't legally call it artificially sweetened if they wanted to.

Posted by: matt at September 27, 2005 10:22 AM

Broken, most certainly. But this appears to be a case of US Food and Drug Administration regulations and guidelines allowing for this.

It appears that the term "unsweetened" applies to the use, or lack of use of sugars in foods. In this case, they have not added any sugars to the product, thus it is unsweetened. However, they have used a sugar substitute to "sweeten" it.

Perhaps somebody with more familiarity with FDA regulations can comment.

In any case, the label is somewhat misleading.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at September 27, 2005 10:37 AM

I've got a bottle of Pure Aloe Vera Gel, that's what it says on the front. On the back, it says Pure Aloe Vera Gel Plus Necessary Preservatives and Stabilizers. In the ingredients list, it lists, among myriad mystery ingredients, fragrance and dyes. We have gone from pure aloe vera to aloe vera plus preservatives to dyed and smelly aloe vera.

Posted by: Bob at September 27, 2005 10:45 AM

I was unable to provide a link to the FDA website because Typepad thinks it is comment spam. Here is the relevant text from the website.

Reference: Sugars 21 CFR 101.60(c)

"No Added Sugars" and "Without Added Sugars" are allowed if no sugar or sugar containing ingredient is added during processing. State if food is not "Low" or "Reduced Calorie"

The terms "Unsweetened" and "No Added Sweeteners" remain as factual statements

Claims about reducing dental caries are implied health claims

Does not include sugar alcohols

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at September 27, 2005 11:06 AM

I know that in the Orange Juice industry, the term "unsweetened" refers to a level of sweetness (obtained naturally or otherwise), and not to whether or not anyone actually pours some raw sugar in.

You could take a sour-tasting orange, squeeze it, add sugar, and call it unsweetened.

I think that's what's happening here... sweeteners are added, but it's not supposed to raise it to an above-average sweetness level.

Posted by: morcheeba at September 27, 2005 07:47 PM

Origen of Splenda. Ten years ago, I retired and came to these country to live. I know all carbonate berage are made with a lot of sugar make from cane. So Brasil export the most amount of sugar to the whole world. 80% of that sugar is used in carbonate berages, so when the 'artificial sweetens like sweet & low started to get into the carbonate berage as "Light", them came the "Aspartame", better teste not after taste. It increase it sale.

I thought if Brasil do not do something right naw with the sugar to "eliminated the carbohidrate" and make with the sugar an " sugar without "calories", Brasil will go broke, a few years later I read a news from Brasil they have put millions of dollar in reserch to do just that, after some time they find a way to do it, but a kilo of this will cost over $1000. So they sold their formula, I think to Monsanto Chemica, and they found a way to do it a created "SPLENDA"It is made out of sugar, but without calory, that is why you can cook with it and freese what you cook and do not loose the sweetens, as the others substitu do.

As the fragancy in produts, which are very bad for alergic person, my wife is severe ashtmatic and alergic to all fragances. We have to always pay more for produts without the " french perfume". I do not undertand it many company do not comprehen this, that in the whole world there are about 2% of persons with ashtma and 8% with alergys. As there is 1% of diabetics person that can not eat sugar in any form, very little carbohydrate, and the only sweetens is Splenda, because you could cook with it.

Manuel Avellan

Posted by: MANUEL AVELLAN at September 27, 2005 08:07 PM

What's the relevance of MANUEL AVELLAN's post in this thread? Who cares about the Splenda story when we're talking about the legalities of the words "unsweetened" and "sweetened?"

And given the incredible brokenness of the entire story, I half expected to see my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy into this not-offered-to-just-anyone deal for huge-profit-overnight investment in (something-that-we-want-you-to-think-is) Splenda (but-really-isn't) in the closing sentences.

Posted by: Loser at September 28, 2005 09:02 AM


Since when are all posts relevant on this website? Besides, while strictly speaking it may not be relevant it is related and interesting (if it is actually true).

With respect to the topic of this post I suspect that Carlos Gomez has hit on an explanation of this label. If that is the reason than I would say that it is the FDA’s labelling regulations that are broken.

Posted by: Sean P at September 28, 2005 12:41 PM

This is an irrelevant post. And darn proud of it.

Posted by: Manuel Transmission at September 28, 2005 02:19 PM

I have a jug of 100% apple juice with added ingredients.


Posted by: Mike at September 28, 2005 04:52 PM

Jugs are good.

Posted by: E. Ray L'Ovant at September 28, 2005 07:52 PM

Hey, apparently their branding works, however, because I recognized the package right off the bat.

FDA rules are perfect examples of government regulations gone haywire.

Similar to this example: A company wanted to sell an all natural ingredient ketchup under the brand name Real. This included no refined sugar, and was made with honey instead.

Sugar = refined product processed in a plant. Honey = natural product made by bees in a hive.

But according to the FDA, ketchup is ketchup only if it is made with sugar. Thus the label: Real imitation ketchup. Yep, it's imitation because it's MORE NATURAL than the freakin' GOVERNMENT says it should be.

Posted by: Erich at September 28, 2005 08:06 PM

This reminds me of Peanut Butter and labels saying "no cholesterol". Of course there's no cholesterol because it's that way naturally. But they label it so it looks like the manufacturer did you a favor. It's like buying bottled water and the label reading "no red dye". DUH! Boils down to being an informed consumer... which of course we all are.

Posted by: Poindexter T Quakenfuss at September 28, 2005 09:32 PM

"Apple Sauce", is neither apples or a sauce, its a puree of apple residue and chemicals treated with various dyes and flavor enhancers.

It also has preservatives to keep the toxins fresh !

Posted by: Johnny Apple Seed at September 29, 2005 08:19 AM

All packaging is broken. Splenda doesn't count as a sweetener, it is just a substance that changes the taste.

Posted by: _______________________________________________________________________ at September 29, 2005 02:53 PM

"We have gone from pure aloe vera to aloe vera plus preservatives to dyed and smelly aloe vera."

Well, just this week Congress passed a bill saying that USDA certified organic foods can now be made of synthetic ingrediants and chemicals of various sorts. Don't blame the FDA for this stuff - the corporations lobby the government to get the rules changed so they CAN label things with Splenda 'unsweetened'

Posted by: J. Scott at September 29, 2005 03:32 PM

Well, just this week Congress passed a bill saying that USDA certified organic foods can now be made of synthetic ingrediants and chemicals of various sorts.

That does it....I must comment. I usually just read here and really enjoy this site. But reading the above comment is just too much. "synthetic and chemical" should never be allowed in organic products. So now we can enjoy organic imitation food. Great!

Posted by: ivaanna at October 1, 2005 12:04 AM

This crap irritates the hell out of me. There is some in my fridge right now, thanks to my dumb roommate.

Posted by: Sara at October 5, 2005 08:35 PM

Looks like a really good job of a graphic designer.

Posted by: Bobb at October 7, 2005 05:32 PM

Apparently, they don't count Splenda as sweetening.

Posted by: electron9186 at February 18, 2006 10:05 AM

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