Consumer Groups Want a 'No' on Corn Sugar

Organizations turn to FDA to stop a move by corn refiners to rename high fructose corn syrup.

Published on: Apr 19, 2012

Just what do you call a sweetener? If your name is high fructose corn syrup you might be looking for a name change, which is what corn refiners are aiming at, but consumer groups disagree. This week a letter was sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calling on that agency to promptly deny the Corn Refiners Association petition to change the name of high fructose corn syrup.

The groups include the National Consumers League, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of American and Shape Up America! They told FDA that nearly 5,000 comments submitted to the agency oppose the name change on a ratio of 100 to 1. The letter also says the agency's failure to promptly deny the petition allows the trade association to continue to run "deceptive marketing campaigns calling HFSC 'corn sugar,' and confuses consumers who wish to avoid the ingredient.

JUST SAY NO: Corn Refiners move to change the name of high fructose corn syrup, consumer groups disagree.
JUST SAY NO: Corn Refiners move to change the name of high fructose corn syrup, consumer groups disagree.

In a press statement, Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL, says "the FDA has a statutory responsibility to ensure that consumers have the opportunity to exercise free choice in the marketplace without being misled by confusing name changes designed to hide the identity of a controversial ingredient."

FDA had warned refiners against using the term "corn sugar" while the petition was pending, NCL states, but did not formally deny the petition. Despite the warning, consumer groups note the refiners kept using the corn sugar name.

With thousands of comments opposing the refiners association petition and the "continued misleading use of the term 'corn sugar' in marketing, FDA should act decisively and deny the [refiners] petition," remarks Chris Waldrop, director, Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America.

To learn more, check out the full letter online.