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FDA Concerns: What’ll You Have, High Fructose Corn Syrup or “Corn Sugar”?

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears to be expanding its authority again, and it isa bit of a sticky situation. This time FDA scrutiny is focused on the legal label of what used to be called “High Fructose Corn Syrup”. For more than a year now, the Corn Refiners Association, in an effort to (we think) make consumers feel safer about consuming food products containing high fructose corn syrup, has launched a public relations program to christen high fructose corn syrup with a new name. But it appears dubbing the substance “Corn Sugar” isn’t as easy as printing new labels.

With growing concerns in many quarters, such as the American medical, health and insurance communities, over the state of obesity and diabetes in children and adults today—and the belief that the consumption of high fructose corn syrup is certainly a contributing factor to obesity–the FDA is treating the proposed name change more like subterfuge than P.R. Indeed, it has inferred that the change smacks of false advertising. According to the Associated Press in an article appearing in syndicated papers September 19, 2011, “The Food and Drug Administration has cautioned the corn industry over its ongoing use of the term “corn sugar” to describe high fructose corn syrup, asking them to stop using the proposed new name before it has received regulatory approval.” (“Jumping the Gun?”, The Daily News Record, September 19, 2011, p. B6.)

The Corn Refiners Association has been using “corn sugar” on TV in commercials and on several websites, including cornsugar.com and sweetsurprise.com. To further cloud the issue, the Corn Refiners have been using the two terms interchangeably, it seems, and now the FDA wants the last word, maintaining that food labeling must consist of clearly understood nutritional information. But will it be syrup or sugar?

The scientific community is divided on whether corn syrup is more detrimental to human health than regular sugar. The American Medical Association says, “there’s not enough evidence to restrict the use of high fructose corn syrup” and more research is needed. For years, diet gurus and diet books have espoused eating less sugar is healthier. Meanwhile, the FDA will continue its review and deliberation over whether the name change from high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar is permissible. In a landmark, possibly bipartisan, move by seven U.S. Senators from cornbelt states, a letter has been filed with the FDA urging the adoption of the name “corn syrup” to effectively “clear up consumer confusion.” Methinks t’is the business interests of their constituents speaking. We simply wonder, would sugar by any other name taste as sweet?

4 Comments

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  1. dawnmorgan says:
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    Get free samples of Emergen-C vitamin drink mix from “Get Official Samples” Request it and enjoy free samples of these vitamin drink mixes.

  2. Windy Daley says:
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    Yes, the corn refiners did jump the gun–ignoring the confusion that is being caused with two sweeteners now being called “corn sugar”–dextrose and high fructose corn syrup. Perhaps the corn refiners completely ignored the legal process because their lobby is so powerful due to corn subsidies. Could they feel that they own the FDA, and can take over all rules on their own?

    Since high fructose corn syrup almost has a monopoly on most processed “pseudo-foods,” perhaps the corn refiners feel that they have a dictatorship over the government and the people.

    Many Americans are fast food slaves–addicted to processed foods and synthetic sugars. The school children eat processed fast foods all day at school. As a teacher, I am alarmed at what is happening to the children of this country.

    Do the corn refiners and their leaders personally consume that artificial red drink (from their commercials) and give it to their children?

    We must love our children enough to feed them real food, and research what is happening to school foods in this country. Thanks for this article.

  3. Greg Webb says:
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    Ms. Daley,

    Thank you for reading and commenting on this blog. I agree with you. I am concerned about obesity in our country, and I believe it must be a large cause of many health problems in young and middle-aged folks. And children. The problem is that inexpensive foods are many times unhealthy. I know my family has made a concerted effort to eat better: more vegetables and lean meats

    Greg Webb

  4. Consumer Freedom says:
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    Why is it subterfuge when it’s accurate? High fructose corn syrup implies that it’s actually high in fructose—which it only is in comparison to regular corn syrup. On its own, it’s like table sugar in that it’s roughly 50-50 fructose and glucose—the same two monosaccharides that compose refined white sugar.