September 4, 2012
Non-profit Files Petition On High Fructose Corn Syrup With FDA
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Citizens for Health, a consumer action group based in Washington D.C., recently filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to focus on products that have concentrations of man-made high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) higher than 55 percent.
The non-profit focuses on health activism to keep consumers informed. With this mission in mind, the goal of the petition is to protect consumers from the illegal use of HFCS in beverages and foods. The FDA has permitted HCFS at or below 55 percent, a level though to be safe for individuals to consume. However, according to Citizens for Health, some products have been found to have as much as 90 percent of fructose.
“HFCS is a controversial industrial sweetener used extensively in the food industry, and consumers have been led to believe that only approved levels of fructose are used in the foods they buy,” commented petition author Jim Turner, chairman of Citizens for Health, in a prepared statement. “But it is common knowledge in the food industry that HFCS with concentrations as high as 90% are manufactured. This non-approved food additive poses serious threats to consumer safety. It is widely recognized that fructose has negative effects on the body and has been clinically linked to obesity.”
The petition from Citizens for Health requests that the FDA create enforcement actions against companies who use amounts of fructose over 55 percent. They are also asking the government agency to change its labeling policy, so that the percentage of the concentration of fructose is clearly listed on the food and beverage products. For example, if High Fructose Corn Syrup had 42 percent of fructose, it would be labeled as High Fructose Corn Syrup 42.
For consumers who are interested in making their opinion heard, there are a number of options. One way to get involved in this health campaign is to participate in a comment section available on the Citizens for Health website. The comments will be sent to the FDA.
In the past year, HFCS has been highlighted in research by a variety of organizations and has become a hot topic of debate. A study by the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA) that was published in the Journal of Physiology in May found that a diet with high amounts of HFCS can affect the memory and learning ability of the brain. The authors mentioned their concern about HFCS used as a preservative and sweeteners for manufactured food products.
“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” commented Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, an author of the study and a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in a prepared statement. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain´s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.”
On the other hand, a study funded by the Corn Refiners Association and published in the Nutrition Journal in August found that sugar and corn syrup perform similarly to a reduced calorie diet. The study reported that, when an individual reduces the number of calories eaten, the person should be able to lose weight while still consuming the same amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
“Our research debunks the vilification of high fructose corn syrup in the diet,” remarked Dr. James R. Rippe, one of the authors of the study as well as a cardiologist who has examined nutrition and weight management, in a prepared statement. “The results show that equally reduced-calorie diets caused similar weight loss regardless of the type or amount of added sugars. This lends further support to findings by our research group and others that table sugar and HFCS are metabolically equivalent.”