Heard on the Hill

Candy Handout on Heels of New Nutrition Label

Confectioners group treats Metro riders to AirHeads for National Candy Month

The National Confectioners Association celebrated National Candy month by passing out candy at the Capitol South Metro station in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hill staffers had rare Monday morning smiles on their faces as they got off the Metro to find candy awaiting them.  

At both Capitol South and Union Station, the National Confectioners Association had another candy handout to celebrate National Candy Month — this time it was the stick-to-your-teeth-and-color-your-tongue sugar strips: AirHeads.  

“People are really, really enjoying them,” NCA's vice president of public affairs & communications Christopher Gindlesperger said as he handed AirHeads to the influx of people coming up the escalator.  

“It's an opportunity for us to create awareness around our industry,” he said.  

National Candy Month comes on the coattails of the Food and Drug Administration's announcement of changes to the nutrition facts labels on food items, including candy.  

On May 20, the FDA said manufacturers must reveal the added sugars in a product and include percent daily values of the new line item. NCA and other major food associations fought to keep the label as is.  

But after battling the FDA for two years, the groups were ultimately unsuccessful. First Lady Michelle Obama announced the updated label featuring a new line for added sugars in May.  

Roughly a week later, the NCA — whose motto is "Always a Treat" — was out brightening government workers' mornings in D.C.  

"We support providing information to consumers that will help them make the choices that are right for them," Gindlesperger said in an email Monday about the label change. "And we believe that the criteria for ingredient labeling should be based on the highest quality of scientific evidence."  

Next week, the association will hold a webinar to go over the labeling changes with their members, which collectively make up the $35 billion strong U.S. confectionery industry. The NCA calls the candy handouts “random acts of sweetness” and this is the first year they have got into action around National Candy Month .  

Monday fell on AirHeads’ 30th anniversary so the association handed out 2,500 of the candy's limited edition birthday cake flavor. Later in the day, the group moved to the Air and Space Museum to spread more sweetness.  

For Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game , NCA plans to put Big League Chew in the dugouts for players to enjoy, which they just did for the Congressional Women’s Softball Game on Wednesday .

Indiana Republican Jackie Walorski and New Hampshire Democrat Ann McLane Kuster established the Congressional Candy Caucus to celebrate the month and recognize the confectionery industry.  

Walorski’s district includes the South Bend Chocolate Company and Lindt Chocolate is produced in Kuster’s New Hampshire district.  

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the flavor of the AirHeads. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.