US denies name change for disputed sweetener

May 31, 2012

US regulators Wednesday denied a request to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup to merely "corn sugar," in a high-profile dispute between two industries.

The effort to change the name comes amid controversy over the sweetener, which is at the epicenter of a dispute over a possible link to obesity.

The said in a ruling that the corn industry failed to back up its request for the name change.

FDA food safety chief Michael Landa said the change would imply "a solid, dried, and crystallized sweetener obtained from corn."

Landa said there is already a solid corn sweetener, called dextrose, and that the liquid corn sweetener contains some ingredients that might adversely affect people "with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption."

The regulatory battle between Big Sugar and Big Corn coincides with a public relations battle.

The FDA affects food labeling but does not prevent advertisements describing "," at least according to the corn industry.

"The FDA's ruling represents a victory for ," said Dan Callister, an attorney for the sugar industry.

"It reaffirms what most , health experts and policy officials have been saying all along: only sugar is sugar. is not sugar. The next step is for the federal court to end the (the corn industry's) misleading ."

But the Corn Refiners Association said the FDA made its decision on "technical grounds" and did not rule on the issue of whether is nutritionally the same as other sugars.

"The fact remains -- which FDA did not challenge -- that the vast majority of American consumers are confused about HFCS," said corn association president Audrae Erickson.

"Consumers have the right to know what is in their foods and beverages in simple, clear language that enables them to make well-informed dietary decisions."

The two sides have offered contradictory scientific studies. A 2008 report by the American Medical Association which concludes that it is "unlikely" that high-fructose contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose.

But a 2011 study cited by the sugar industry from the journal Metabolism concludes the fructose corn syrup leads to "significantly different acute metabolic effects" than plain sugar.

Some have linked the obesity epidemic to consumption of processed foods and soft drinks which use corn syrup in place of costlier cane or beet sugar.

The corn industry petitioned the FDA for permission to use the term "corn sugar" instead of high fructose corn syrup. But in the meantime it has launched television and print ads hoping to gain public support, on free speech grounds.

The campaign cites experts saying there is no difference between various sugars in terms of metabolism, calories or other nutritional values.

"Whether it's sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference. Sugar is sugar," one ad says.

Explore further: Big Corn, Big Sugar in bitter US row on sweetener

Related Stories

Big Corn, Big Sugar in bitter US row on sweetener

December 17, 2011
Big Corn and Big Sugar are locked in a legal and public relations fight in the US over a plan to change the name of a corn-based sweetener that has gotten a bad name.

Sugar and corn syrup makers in bitter clash

September 14, 2011
(AP) -- The setting sun splashes warm hues across a ripening cornfield as a man and his daughter wander through rows of towering plants.

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.