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FDA Petitioned To Change Name of Corn Syrup

September 15, 2010

Officials at the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow ‘corn syrup’ to be known as ‘corn sugar.’

The move, according to a statement released by the CRA on Tuesday, is part of “an effort to help clarify the labeling of food products for consumers” and would allow the term ‘corn sugar’ to be used as “an alternative name for high fructose corn syrup.”

“Contrary to widespread consumer belief, high fructose corn syrup–a safe and affordable natural sweetener found in many popular products on grocery shelves–is not high in fructose when compared with other commonly used nutritive sweeteners, including table sugar, honey and fruit juice concentrates,” the CRA press release says. “Like table sugar, it is roughly half glucose and half fructose and is metabolized by the body in the same way as regular table sugar. In fact, the high fructose corn syrup that is used in many foods, such as baked goods, is lower in fructose than table sugar.”

In their statement, the CRA cites “independent research” which “demonstrates that the current labeling is confusing to American consumers.”

Said research, they claim, found that more than half of survey participants believed that high fructose corn syrup contained more fructose than other forms of table sugar.

Furthermore, they cite a December 2008 American Dietetic Association (ADA) report which found that high fructose corn syrup is “nutritionally equivalent to sucrose,” contained the same caloric content per gram as table sugar, and was “indistinguishable” from it once it entered the bloodstream.

According to AP Marketing Writer Emily Fredrix, corn syrup consumption by residents of the U.S. has plummeted to a 20-year low, due largely with a public perception that links the sweetener to obesity. Fredrix notes that the FDA “could take two years to decide on the name,” but added that the industry had already launched an online advertising campaign using the new moniker.

“Research has yielded conflicting results about the effects of high-fructose corn syrup,” Katherine Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic nutritionist, wrote on the medical center’s website.

“While research continues, moderation remains important,” she continued, adding that those concerned about the amount of high-fructose corn syrup they are consuming should eat fewer processed foods, avoid foods or drinks with added sugar, drink less soda, choose fresh fruit over fruit juice or fruit-flavored drinks, avoid fruits that have been canned in heavy syrup, and encourage children to consume milk instead of sweetened drinks.

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