ONTD Political

FDA: High Fructose Corn Syrup Isn't "Corn Sugar"

9:38 pm - 05/31/2012
Dealing what is surely a mighty blow to those in the corn industry hoping to improve the image of high fructose corn syrup, the Food and Drug Administration has denied the Corn Refiners Association's petition to rename HFCS as "corn sugar."

The FDA laid it all out in the form of a letter to the CRA's president, Audrae Erickson.

In the letter, dated May 30 and titled "Response to Petition from Corn Refiners Association to Authorize 'Corn Sugar' as an Alternate Common or Usual Name for High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)," Michael Landa, Director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition explains the reasons why the Sept. 14, 2010 petition is being denied.

We picked out some of the pertinent parts below:

As explained below, your petition does not provide sufficient grounds for the agency to authorize "corn sugar" as an alternate common or usual name for HFCS.

First, you contend consumers are confused by the name "high fructose corn syrup" and that the proposed alternate name "corn sugar" more closely reflects consumer expectations and more accurately describes the basic nature of HFCS and its characterizing properties.

The CRA was hoping the name change would help to change consumers' perception that HFCS has more adverse effects for humans than sugar. The group contended that "corn sugar" more accurately reflects the nature of the ingredient.

Too bad, says the FDA.

However, FDA's regulatory approach for the nomenclature of sugar and syrups is that sugar is a solid, dried, and crystallized food; whereas syrup is an aqueous solution or liquid food....

Consequently, the use of the term "corn sugar" for HFCS would suggest that HFCS is a solid, dried, and crystallized sweetener obtained from corn. Instead, HFCS is an aqueous solution sweetener derived from corn after enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch, followed by enzymatic conversion of glucose (dextrose) to fructose. Thus, the use of the term "sugar" to describe HFCS, a product that is a syrup, would not accurately identify or describe the basic nature of the food or its characterizing properties. As such, using the term "sugar" would not be consistent with the general principles governing common or usual names.

Also important is the fact that "corn sugar" is already an FDA-approved alternative name for dextrose monohydrate. The letter points out that, far from clearing up confusion to consumers, changing the name of HFCS could cause confusion for some people who are already familiar with the current use of the name:

Moreover, "corn sugar" has been known to be an allowed ingredient for individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, who have been advised to avoid ingredients that contain fructose. Because such individuals have associated "corn sugar" to be an acceptable ingredient to their health when "high fructose corn syrup" is not, changing the name for HFCS to "corn sugar" could put these individuals at risk and pose a public health concern.

Continuing on the dextrose monohydrate topic, the FDA also rejected the portion of the CRA petition that had asked to the agency to put an end to the old school use of "corn sugar."

The thing we're most excited about is the expected end to those horrid "corn sugar" ads that plague our basic cable commercial breaks.

Response to Petition from Corn Refiners Association to Authorize "Corn Sugar" as an Alternate Common or Usual Name for High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) [FDA.gov]

jaded110 1st-Jun-2012 03:16 pm (UTC)
I can't drink diet soda because aspartame gives me splitting headaches, and I'm trying to cut down on sugar because my blood glucose is too high. Thanks to this, I'm down to naturally sweetened drinks, plain tea and water.

Edited at 2012-06-01 03:17 pm (UTC)
carmy_w 1st-Jun-2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
I can drink diet Mt. Dew, but I have the same gripe you do-too sweet! So I tried getting a bottle of seltzer water and mixing it in. It works quite well!

I don't know if it would work with dark sodas or not, but most lemon-lime sodas have enough flavoring to stand up to being thinned out a bit.
jaded110 1st-Jun-2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna try the seltzer thing. Diluting with water just makes soda taste bad anyway.
carmy_w 1st-Jun-2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
Using seltzer keeps the fizz going! I generally do a can of soda to about 2 ounces of seltzer, more or less. I have one of those big 32oz. mugs; I fill with ice, add one can of soda, then top it off with seltzer.
(no subject) - Anonymous
emofordino 2nd-Jun-2012 02:45 am (UTC)
i don't know how people can drink that much soda, even if it is diet! i drink one can of regular pepsi to drink in the morning for the caffeine, especially on days where i have to work at like 5-6am because i hate the taste of coffee and it burns my stomach anyway. no fluids actually quench my thirst but water, though, so i could never drink more soda than i do without it cutting into the the amount of water i drink a day (usually 1.5L) and then i'd just feel gross from not getting enough water. most people i know drink like, several cans worth of soda a day though so i might just be a weirdo.
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