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High-fructose corn syrup is generating more commotion around its name than a newborn child.
The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is defending its stance in the high-fructose corn syrup debate after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled last week against renaming the product “corn sugar.”
“The Food & Drug Administration denied our petition to use the term corn sugar to describe high-fructose corn syrup on narrow, technical grounds,” says Audrae Erickson, CRA president.
Last week, theFDA denied aCRA petition to rename high-fructose corn syrup "corn sugar," citing consumer health concerns and inaccuracy.
The CRA is maintaining their stance that high-fructose corn syrup is, in fact, a form of sugar and should be called corn sugar.
“They did not address or question the overwhelming scientific evidence that high fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar and is nutritionally the same as other sugars,” says Erickson.
Both the CRA and the FDA are defending their decisions, citing consumer health concerns should the other party’s decision be granted.
“The fact remains — which FDA did not challenge — that the vast majority of American consumers are confused about high-fructose corn syrup,” says 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 FDA decision says granting the CRA petition could endanger consumer health, especially those with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, who have been advised to avoid ingredients that contain fructose. Changing the name to "corn sugar" could put these individuals at risk and pose a public health concern.
"The FDA's ruling represents a victory for American consumers," says Dan Callister, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the ongoing litigation. "It reaffirms what most consumer advocates, health experts and policy officials have been saying all along: only sugar is sugar. High-fructose corn syrup is not sugar."
Specifically, the FDA says the term “sugar” cannot accurately identify or describe high-fructose corn syrup, a product that is a syrup.
Also, consumers already associate dextrose with “corn sugar,” a term used to describe dextrose for more than 30 years, the FDA says.
The FDA ruling — issued in a letter to CRA President Audrae Erickson — rejected the arguments made in the CRA's petition, filed Sept. 14, 2010.
The CRA had asked the FDA to grant the name change after launching a multimillion dollar advertising and marketing campaign arguing that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are identical.
In return, U.S. sugar farmers and refiners launched more than a year of litigation to stop the CRA's campaign, a lawsuit still pending in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.