Thursday, November 3, 2011

'Most influential lawyer' joins case against corn processors

W. Mark Lanier, the Houston attorney renowned for securing trial verdicts amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, has joined the legal team trying to stop the false advertising of high-fructose-corn-syrup (HFCS) as a natural product equivalent to real sugar, the Sugar Assn announced.

Lanier's involvement in the case follows U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Judge Consuelo Marshall's rejection of the Corn Refiners Assn's request that the suit be dismissed, noting that Corn Refiners Association's multi-million dollar advertising campaign about HFCS constitutes "commercial speech."

Recognized as one of America's "Most Influential Lawyers" and one of the country's top trial attorneys by The National Law Journal, Lanier's past successes include victories in major asbestos and business fraud cases, including winning a $417 million judgment in Rubicon v. Amoco. Lanier's work securing a $253 million victory in the first lawsuit brought against Merck for its Vioxx painkiller is the subject of the recent book "All The Justice Money Can Buy."

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

McDonald's McRib: Ingredients

McDonald's is reasserting its McRib sandwich for the Holidays. For a limited time. Just while the dregs of the pork industry are in good supply.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest columnist: Disparaging corn and our way of life

Foes of corn are trying to block the use of the term 'corn sugar' on food labels.

As a fourth generation Iowa farmer, it’s hard for me to stand by as opponents attack high fructose corn syrup with inaccuracy after inaccuracy. And when they attack it, make no mistake: They are disparaging corn and our way of life in Iowa.

We are now in the midst of harvesting one of Iowa’s most valuable commodities — a high quality and safe product, a product that rightly instills pride among millions of Midwesterners. But when it comes to high fructose corn syrup — also a high quality and safe product made in our state — misinformation abounds. Foes of HFCS are throwing around bad science and are attacking corn, our livelihood.

Mark Twain wisely advised: “When in doubt, tell the truth.”

A petition before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeks approval to allow the alternate name “corn sugar” for “high fructose corn syrup” as an option on food ingredient labels.

The truth is the term “corn sugar” more accurately describes what this ingredient actually is — a sugar made from corn. Ingredient names on food labels should be clear and reflect in no uncertain terms what the ingredient is. You can’t get much clearer than “corn sugar.” This alternate name will enable consumers to better identify added sugars in the foods they purchase and clear up lingering consumer confusion.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FAT? Want To Know Why!

Are you overweight and can't seem to loose any excess weight no matter how hard you try? The answer might be a simple one. Do the research. A major cause of obesity is HFCS. This is high fructose corn syrup, not the more common sucrose (table sugar). You see those magnificant corporations saw a way to make more profit sweetening snacks with HFCS than regular sugar. Your body metabolizes HFCS differently than table sugar. DO THE RESEARCH.

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Citizens for Health Denounces High Fructose Corn Syrup Name Change

Leading Consumer Action Group Rallies Over 100,000 Supporters to Oppose Corn Refiners Association's FDA Petition

Misleading advertising and unproven scientific claims made about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) are being called "Food Identity Theft" by Citizens for Health, one of the nation's oldest and most respected consumer action groups.

The non-profit organization is mobilizing its roster of over 100,000 Americans to denounce the $50 million ad campaign sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) which implies that HFCS is the same as sugar, and oppose the CRA's petition filed with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to label HFCS as "corn sugar" on ingredients panels that would conceal this man-made sweetener from consumers.

"Millions of Americans are choosing to avoid products that contain HFCS. But many don't know that the corporations that make it want to change the name High Fructose Corn Syrup to 'corn sugar,'" said James Gormley, Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor of Citizens for Health. "If the FDA were to allow this, we'd never know if it's in the foods we're feeding our families."

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A—MAIZE—ing: Corn, high fructose corn syrup in soda and everywhere else

I'm here to introduce the triumph of the plant world: Zea mays or, as we commonly know it, corn. Corn was, in many ways, what separated successful villages or colonies from those that dwindled or faded out of existence. This is because corn can be used as both a commodity and a food source.

Even while venturing through the grocery store today, corn is a lot more than a cob — it's in the canyons of breakfast cereals, shelves of snacks and canopies of soft drinks.

In America convenience is critical. Let'shead to the processed food isle, where we find chicken nuggets. A chicken nugget piles corn upon corn: What chicken is contained consists of corn, including modified corn starch that acts as an adhesive — holding the chicken together — the corn flour in the batter that coats the nugget and the corn oil in which it is cooked. Then you have the leavenings and lecithin, the mono-, di- and triglycerides, the attractive golden coloring and even the citric acid, which keeps the nugget "fresh." This can all be derived from corn.

To wash down your chicken nuggets with virtually any soft drink, you can have some corn with your corn.

In 1984, Pepsi and Coca-Cola announced plans to stop using sugar in soft drinks, replacing the sweetener with high fructose corn syrup. After water, corn sweetener is now both drinks' No. 2 ingredient. Grab a beer instead and you'd still be drinking corn, in the form of alcohol, fermented from glucose and refined from corn.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup Lawsuit Goes Another Round

Well, I know sugar. Sugar is a good friend (often foe) of mine. And high fructose corn syrup (HCFS), you are no sugar.

Watching the the sugar industry and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) duke it out in court over whether HCFS should be rebranded as “corn sugar,” or not, makes for great theater. The war of words and litigation are analogous to small market baseball team fans making the choice between rooting for the Yankees or Red Sox: neither is appealing.

Now we have a fight in the courts over what can be called sugar or not. Watch for the sweetener wars to become even more exciting as various industry groups defend their respective turfs.
The two trade associations and their allies are entangled in litigation that began when the CRA decided that it would rebrand HCFS as “corn sugar” to circumvent HCFS’ bad reputation. The tussle began earlier this year when the CRA lobbied the Food and Drug Association (FDA) to permit the name change. Because of consumer concern, the CRA would prefer the label “corn sugar.” The corn lobby has a poor record of transparency on the manufacture of HFCS and people are concerned about what’s in it. Since “corn sugar” sounds like a different product than HFCS, the Western Sugar Cooperative was one plaintiff that took the CRA to court over allegations of false advertising and deception.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Judge: Lawsuit over ‘corn sugar’ can go forward

A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit seeking to stop the corn industry’s use of the term “corn sugar’’ for high fructose corn syrup can go forward, a decision that the sugar industry lawyers who brought the suit said Saturday was “very encouraging.’’

U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall issued the ruling Friday in Los Angeles, allowing the false advertising suit brought by plaintiffs that include the Western Sugar Cooperative against the Corn Refiners Association to go forward.

“It is something we expected, we’re not in the business of filing meritless or frivolous lawsuits,’’ sugar industry attorney Adam Fox told The Associated Press.

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Halloween Candy Deconstructed

It's Halloween time — already. The costumes, the candy, the candy, the candy, and lots of it. It's the one time of year that even hard-core healthy eaters become pushers of the sugary stuff.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

New corn syrup labeling is misleading

Corporations and industry groups are at it again, trying to deceive the American public into buying products that are either unsafe or unhealthy. This is their corporate duty under the assumption that they must, as economic agents, follow ruthless self-interest to protect their corporation or industry as a whole.

This time, the Corn Refiners Association is trying to change the name of “high-fructose corn syrup,” a name with many negative connotations, to “corn sugar,” a name that sounds much more consumer friendly.

The name change is disingenuous. It is meant to deceive consumers into buying more products with high-fructose corn syrup, without those consumers knowing that they are in fact putting high-fructose syrup into their bodies.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Corn Mafia Is At It Again

Do you feel like shit? I know I do. I could blame the horrible traffic situation in DC but that's an easy out. I could blame drinking too much Flying Dog. I could blame choosing writing as a career (protip: the shit doesn't pay, yo).

But a more likely cause is our toxic environment.

They put corn in our gasoline and gasoline in our food. Does that make sense to anyone? When I lived in California, I'd have to stare at Prop 65 signs everywhere warning me that my environment was known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Not might, HAD and probably COULD. My lymph nodes throbbed. WTF.

The Corn Mafia wants to keep burning up the shit in gas tanks and in things it has no business being in (like most grocery store cat foods - but I won't make this a lecture on feeding your cats an actual meat diet free of fillers like corn), but the deception is wearing thin.

Surely you've seen the Corn Sugar ads. This big toothy chick (who I think was also in a birth control ad - another lobby in and of itself that we'll save for another day) talks about how she too suspected high fructose syrup which shall not be named was bad but then she did the research. She doesn't say what research she did but it led her to discover that sugar is sugar.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: The Debate

In 2010, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released data relaying the drastic increase of obesity in the United States. More than 33 percent of Americans are now obese, and no state in the nation has less than a 20 percent obese population. At the same time, it seems as though everyone has an explanation for our ballooning waistbands. P

People like Michael Pollan, food activist and writer of In Defense of Food, points to one particular flaw in the Western diet: the massive consumption of corn products and sweeteners. The biggest corn culprit is, as you may have guessed, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The product is found in many foods Americans eat daily, from bread and sauces to lunch meat and sodas. In fact, it is so prevalent and in so many of the foods we consume that Americans eat an annual estimated average of 140 pounds of HFCS.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Minnesota Public Radio: The rebranding of high fructose syrup

After years of consumer campaigns against high fructose corn syrup, the Corn Refiners Association has decided to change the name of this controversial sweetener to Corn Sugar. Now the sugar industry is taking them to court. We get an update on the law suit and talk about the ethics of rebranding.


Adam Fox: Partner at Squire Sanders & Dempsey Law firm in Los Angeles. They are representing the Sugar Industry in their suit agaist the Corn Refinery Association

Akshay Rao: Professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

Lawrence Lessig on How Money Corrupts Congress - and How to Stop It

When you put these two things together, you understand a little bit why we have an explosion of high-fructose corn syrup substituting for regular sugar in our diets.

"There is a feeling today among too many Americans that we might not make it," Lawrence Lessig writes in the introduction to his new book Republic, Lost. "Not that the end is near or that doom is around the corner, but that a distinctly American feeling of inevitability, of greatness – culturally, economically, politically -- is gone." He goes on to note that Americans' trust in government is at an all-time low, related to the (largely accurate) belief that moneyed special interests wield outsize influence over our political system. In his book, Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor and big noise in the field of law and technology, details how money came to corrupt our government, how our broken system hurts both the Left and the Right, and what it will take to return American democracy to its rightful owners – the people. We caught up with him by phone the other day; here, highlights from our conversation.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Citizens for Health Launches New Website to Take on Food Labeling Issues Alerts Consumers to Deceptive Product Packaging

As the nation's food integrity is under attack by profit-hungry corporations, and consumers are being targeted by deceptive packaging practices, Citizens for Health, one of the nation's most respected consumer advocacy groups, has launched a new website,, to alert and inform Americans about misleading labeling on many food, beverage and health products.

Since 1993, Citizens for Health, "the Voice of the Natural Health Consumer," has provided information about the threats posed by hundreds of everyday products. By supplying facts, links to news stories and videos, legislative updates and more, the non-profit organization helps shoppers make informed decisions about the products they buy for themselves and their families.

"Many consumers believe that the U.S. government will protect us from false advertising or stop corporations from making unproven claims about their products," said Senior Editor, Linda Bonvie. "But the truth is, corporations have a huge influence in Washington. We as consumers have to protect ourselves, stay informed, and tell our legislators and government agencies that we won't accept being lied to."

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Report links farm subsidies, obesity

Are farm subsidies making us fat?

Billions in taxpayer dollars are going to support high fructose corn syrup and three other common food additives used in junk food, according to a report released this week by the California Public Interest Research Group and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, both consumer advocacy groups.

The report, "Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food," makes the case that federal farm subsidies are helping feed the nation's obesity epidemic. The research shows that from 1995 to 2010, $16.9 billion in federal subsidies went to producers and others in the business of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils.

"If these agricultural subsidies went directly to consumers to allow them to purchase food, each of America's 144 million taxpayers would be given $7.36 to spend on junk food and 11 cents with which to buy apples each year - enough to buy 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple apiece," CALPIRG officials said in a statement.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fight to Change the Name of High Fructose Corn Syrup

The Corn Refiners Association, a group that protects the interests of HFCS makers, is trying to change the product's name to "corn sugar"

I worry a lot about the ability of the FDA to set limits on the excess marketing practices of food companies. The latest cause for worry is the seemingly trivial fuss over what to call High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

HFCS is not especially high in fructose (its fructose content is about the same as that of table sugar) but the term has gotten a bad reputation and food companies have begun to replace this sweetener with table sugar.

The Corn Refiners Association, the trade association that protects the interests of the makers of HFCS thinks it can solve that problem by getting the FDA to allow a name change from HFCS to "corn sugar" (see my previous comments on this issue). The FDA has this request under consideration.

In the meantime, the Corn Refiners are using "corn sugar" in advertisements on two websites, and

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why is Junk Food Being Subsidized???

How many tax dollars have been spent subsidizing junk food ingredients? A new report released today by U.S. PIRG paints a clear picture of how agricultural subsidies have been distributed, with a large portion -- $16.9 billion since 1995 -- going toward corn and soy-based additives found in most processed foods, leaving hardly any subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Most of the corn and soybeans we see in America are not eaten as is. In fact, only about one percent of U.S.-produced corn is the sweet corn people directly consume. Most of the crops are used to fatten up livestock in factory farms, turned into biofuel, or processed into sweeteners and starches. The sweeteners and starches (corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils), benefiting from that $16.9 billion in the last 16 years (or $1.06 billion a year) is what has helped keep unhealthy snacks like Twinkies so cheap. Subsidies for healthy food, you ask? They don't get the same favored treatment. U.S. PIRG's report illustrates:

Apples are the only fresh fruit or vegetable receiving significant federal subsidies. Since 1995 the entire complex of federal agricultural programs has spent only $262 million on apples, and even this modest support is an overstatement of the subsidies going to fresh apples -- some of the apple crop is itself processed into forms like apple juice or applesauce which in turn may be sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surviving The 21st Century - Sugar Sugar - Radio Round Up

The team of Mannie Barling, Ashley F Brooks and Simon Barrett decided to focus our attention on sugar.

The propaganda arm of the High Fructose Corn Syrup industry is the Corn Refiners Association. Their current hogwash is the slogan Sugar is Sugar. In their eyes it matters not where the sugar comes from, sugar is sugar, all sugar is the same. Cane sugar, Beet Sugar, Corn sugar, they are all identical.

This is a clearly ridiculous statement. It does not take a bunch of PhD’s to figure out that there are substantial differences.

Today’s sugar marketplace is further complicated by the seemingly endless number of artificial sweeteners on the market.

The question that we asked ourselves was what are the pro’s and con’s of these different sugars? Are some sugars better for you than others? Or was the question are some sugars less harmful than others?

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Americans Eat 42 Pounds of Corn Syrup Annually—How Bad Is That?

Derek Thompson at The Atlantic reblogged a visualization of America's annual eating habits. According to Thompson's graphic, besides almost 85 pounds of fat and oils and 110 pounds of red meat, the average American consumes about 42 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup annually. Forty-two pounds is the size of about six newborns, and pretty gross prima facie. But just how bad for you is it?

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day and that men consume no more than nine, which amounts to about 100 and 150 calories, respectively. Forty-two pounds is the equivalent of 3,865 teaspoons of corn syrup, or almost 11 per day. Nobody should be eating that much added sugar.

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5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You

If you can't convince them, confuse them.
--Harry Truman

The current media debate about the benefits (or lack of harm) of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our diet misses the obvious. The average American increased their consumption of HFCS (mostly from sugar sweetened drinks and processed food) from zero to over 60 pounds per person per year. During that time period, obesity rates have more than tripled and diabetes incidence has increased more than seven fold. Not perhaps the only cause, but a fact that cannot be ignored.

Doubt and confusion are the currency of deception, and they sow the seeds of complacency. These are used skillfully through massive print and television advertising campaigns by the Corn Refiners Association's attempt to dispel the "myth" that HFCS is harmful and assert through the opinion of "medical and nutrition experts" that it is no different than cane sugar. It is a "natural" product that is a healthy part of our diet when used in moderation.

Except for one problem. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Is Your Dinner 'All Natural'?

According to Ricardo Carvajal, a former FDA lawyer now in private practice counseling food and drug makers, the FDA generated a firestorm in 2008 when it pronounced that high-fructose corn syrup is not "natural."

From ice cream to salad dressing, and potato chips to pet food, health-conscious grocery shoppers can choose an "all natural" version of just about anything.

But one item ingredient-conscious consumers can't pluck off the shelves: an official definition of "natural."

A recent spate of consumer lawsuits allege that food companies are playing fast-and-loose with the "all natural" designation, effectively committing fraud against the shopping public. But determining fraud becomes complicated when the federal government itself concedes the rule book is vague.

"The word hasn't been defined well enough at all, so for years companies have been able to get away with basically defining it themselves," said Michele Simon, an author and food-policy expert.

Wesson cooking oils, Kashi cereals, Arizona-brand drinks and an alcoholic beverage called Skinnygirl Margarita are among the products named in recent lawsuits, with allegations that claims of being "all natural" are undercut by various ingredients.

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The Corn Syrup Diaries: Why Won't You Love Us, FDA?

It's comforting to know that the government agency charged with overseeing our nation's food safety isn't utterly spineless, incompetent or, worse yet, completely corrupted by agribusiness.

The high fructose corn syrup battle has many fronts: There's the court of public opinion, the court of law and, perhaps most importantly, the "court" of the Food and Drug Administration.

Last September, the Corn Refiners Association, petitioned the FDA to let them replace "high-fructose corn syrup" with "corn sugar" on ingredient labels. According to internal memos obtained by the Associated Press, the FDA is having none of it.

Cloaked in the language of legality and corporate reticence, these memos are like mash notes from a bad relationship. In this setup, Big Corn is the ardent lover, trying desperately to impress a disinterested girl (the American public) and win the approval of her strict parents (the FDA). C'mon, America. Why won't you just fall in love with "corn sugar"?

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Sugar Vs. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup has long dominated the soda market, but there's a big campaign to suggest it's natural, the same as sugar. The sugar folks estimate corn refiners have spent $50 million on the campaign.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

High Fructose Corn Syrup is Being Sued

Who would sue high fructose corn syrup and why? A group composed of cane sugar farmers and refiners is adamant against the proposed rebranding of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as "corn sugar" because of the effect it could have on their cane sugar business and that it uses false advertising.

HFCS is considered Enemy No. 1 in America's nutrition fight, and citizens have become more and more wary of this popular sweetener additive which adds empty calories to our diet. As a result, its usage has plummeted more than 20%.

Although this fructose-glucose blend is made from vegetables and received the approval of the Food and Drug Administration to refer to it as "all-natural" in 2007, HFCS has been blamed for a myriad of health problems of the heart, liver, has encouraged diabetes and the obesity epidemic, and even contains mercury.

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Fructose, high fructose corn syrup may increase cardiovascular risk

A new study suggests that eating 25 percent of energy from fructose or high fructose corn syrup may increase cardiovascular disease risk.

The study found young adults increased postprandial serum levels of triglycerides, bad cholesterol and apoliprotein - or ApoB, a component of LDL cholesterol.

K.L. Stanhope and colleagues from University of California - Davis conducted a study to see how how glucose, fructose or high fructose corn syrup or HFCS would affect the cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol and triglycerides when they are consumed as 25 percent of the total caloric intake.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why Sugar Is Suing High Fructose Corn Syrup: A Sticky Question of Names

When you need to give yourself a whole new image, there's nothing like changing your name: Just ask Philip Morris, Ralph Lauren and the medication formerly known as thalidomide. Recently, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the scourge of dieticians and dieters from coast to coast, has started down that road by attempting to rename itself "corn sugar." But there's one big obstacle in its way: the sugar industry, which doesn't want to be tainted by connection to the infamous sweetener -- and is willing to go to court to protect itself.

When it was invented in 1957, high fructose corn syrup's name was largely irrelevant. Unknown outside of a small circle of chemists, the compound was an expensive, hard-to-synthesize scientific curiosity. It took another 20 years and the development of a low-cost production method for HFCS to gain ground in America. But between tariffs that drove up the cost of imported cane and beet sugars, and federal subsidies that drove down the cost of corn, HFCS usage quickly exploded. In 1972, the average American consumed about 1.2 pounds of the stuff. Within seven years, that number had increased more than twelve-fold, to 14.8 pounds. And by 1999, the average American was putting away over 63 pounds of high fructose corn syrup.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

High Fructose Corn Syrup Rebrand Criticized by Official

An attempt to designate high fructose corn syrup as simply “corn sugar” has been criticized for being misleading and robbing consumers of important information. According to the Associated Press, a top official at the Food and Drug Administration told the corn industry that changing the name would “invite ridicule.”

“It would be affirmatively misleading to change the name of the ingredient after all this time, especially in light of the controversy surrounding it,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, told colleagues in a March 2010 email. “If we allow it, we will rightly be mocked both on the substance of the outcome and the process through which it was achieved.”

The Corn Refiners Association has sought a rebrand of the controversial agreement for over a year. They filed an informal request with the FDA in March, and then submitted a formal petition again in September of last year.

The AP said the corn industry wants to change the name of high fructose corn syrup after some scientists began to link it to obesity and other health problems. Since then, food companies have started to push products without the ingredient.

FDA spokesman Doug Karas was careful to say that Taylor’s comments ought to be looked at in the context of the specific name change, and did not reflect what the FDA’s eventual decision will be.

“The conversation you have is in a different context and does not, or will not, affect the outcome of the petition itself,” Karas told the AP.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Americans eat 42 pounds of high fructose corn syrup annually

Derek Thompson at The Atlantic reblogged a visualization of America’s annual eating habits. According to Thompson’s graphic, besides almost 85 pounds of fat and oils and 110 pounds of red meat, the average American consumes about 42 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup annually. Forty-two pounds is the size of about six newborns, and pretty gross prima facie. But just how bad for you is it?

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day and that men consume no more than nine, which amounts to about 100 and 150 calories, respectively. Forty-two pounds is the equivalent of 3,865 teaspoons of corn syrup, or almost 11 per day. Nobody should be eating that much added sugar.

Exacerbating the problem is that high-fructose corn syrup has been shown to be worse than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain. Last year, researchers at Princeton University discovered that rats supplied with corn syrup got significantly fatter than rats fed regular sugar, even when caloric intake between the groups was the same. What makes that particularly frightening is how frequently food brands have begun using corn syrup in place of real sugar, which is more expensive. So while corporations are able to tighten their belts with corn syrup, America is forced to loosen its own.

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High fructose corn syrup by any other name would be just as sweet

If “the idea that HFCS is bad because it’s not natural is simply incorrect”, then why the tricky name change?

Fed up with the public’s misperception that consuming high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is unhealthy, the corn industry launched a new ad campaign last year with a catchy tag line informing people that, when it comes to HFCS or regular sugar, “Your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar.” In addition, the Corn Refiners Association, which produced the advertisements, began lobbying the FDA to grant it permission to rebrand HFCS as simply “corn sugar” — a move that will now be left up to the courts to decide after a group of sugar farmers filed a lawsuit contesting the name change.

Why all the HFCS controversy? Because, as Adam Fox, an attorney for the sugar industry contends, “It is not natural, it does not exist in nature. Sugar comes from cane and beet, HFCS requires advanced technology.”

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Corn Syrup Lawsuit Heads To Los Angeles Court

The setting sun splashes warm hues across a ripening cornfield as a man and his daughter wander through rows of towering plants.

Like any parent, the dad says in the television commercial, he was concerned about high fructose corn syrup. But medical and nutrition experts reassured him that in essence, it's the same as cane sugar.

"Your body can't tell the difference," he says. "Sugar is sugar."

That key claim, made last year by the corn industry as it tries to rebrand high fructose corn syrup as simply "corn sugar," was weighed for the first time by a federal judge Tuesday after a group of sugar farmers and refiners sued corn processors and a lobbying group.

Their lawsuit alleges the father-in-the-cornfield advertisement and other national television, print and online commercials from the corn industry amount to false advertising because sugar is not the same as high fructose corn syrup, the sweetening agent now found in the bulk of sodas and many processed foods.

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Food fight breaks out over “corn sugar”

Big Sugar is taking Big Corn to court over the name “corn sugar.” Representatives of U.S. sugar farmers and refiners claim that the corn industry’s use of the term constitutes false and misleading advertising. We agree that the name is confusing. But we also think that you should limit consumption of all added sugar, in any name or form.

The lawsuit comes after manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to change the ingredient’s name to “corn sugar” in 2010, and began promoting it as “corn sugar” in advertisements. They want to make the change largely because of the bad rep high-fructose corn syrup has received in recent years as being somehow less healthful than other forms of sugar, which has hurt its sales.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Hidden sources of high fructose corn syrup in your groceries

The production of HFCS involves vats of murky fermenting liquid, various enzymes, fungus and chemical tweaking, all of which take place in one of 16 chemical plants located in the Corn Belt.

It is amazing how ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become. Most of the products that you purchase from the grocery store contain HFCS, including the ones you would least expect.

It has the same sweetness and taste as an equal amount of sucrose from cane or beet sugars, so most people can't tell the difference. And since it tastes good they continue to eat it anyway, oblivious to what they are eating and the impact it may have on them, and the planet.

In spite of it being much more complicated to produce, HFCS is actually cheaper to make than regular sugar from beets or sugar canes. It's also very easy to transport, meaning lower costs and higher profits for food producers. That being said, there is a con to mass producing this cheap sugar.

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5 Surprising Foods in Your Kids' Diet that have High Fructose Corn Syrup

While there is some controversy over whether high fructose corn syrup is good or bad for you, I am a believer that it is more bad than good and I want to punch the television every time I see one of the ads that says it's just corn sugar. I can't say that it never enters the diet of family, but I sure as heck do my best to keep it out of our cabinets and refrigerator. However, I've found that often when I think I'm making a healthy choice for my family, manufacturers have figured out a way to sneak this ingredient into our kids' favorite healthy foods even when I least expect it. The following foods are some of the top offenders in my opinion and are ones that I always make sure I read the labels on to be sure they don't include this controversial ingredient.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Restaurants Going High Fructose Corn Syrup Free

It’s all about taste he says. They’ve found that HFCS-free and organic foods just taste better.

Remember the early days of culinary-profiling when sugar was Public Enemy Number One and mom quaffed diet soda until the world went sour on saccharine? The next victim was fat. We feasted on fat-free everything and gorged on pasta. Then carbohydrates were demonized. Atkins slimmed us on red meat, bacon and high-fat diets, but we craved carbs and felt like we puffed-up like blowfish the second we ate them. Processed foods were the next root-of-all-evil. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) quickly joined them in the crosshairs, creating the latest, easy-way-out, feel-good, target-rich environment for those looking for the (next) root cause of obesity. HFCS is in everything! Get rid of it, say opponents, and replace it...with sugar. Aaah, the cycle of life.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Post Raisin Bran Gets Rid of the High Fructose Corn Syrup and Makes My Day

Raisin Bran is my favorite cereal. High fructose corn syrup used to be in both brand name products, but Post has been my favorite brand of raisin bran since the day I read the labels and discovered Kellogg's product is made in Mexico these days, not in Battle Creek, Michigan. Post makes theirs in St. Louis, Missouri.

I'd been out of raisin bran for a while, but today was Wal-Mart day. When the big purple Post Raisin Bran box jumped off the shelf and into my hand, imagine my amazement at seeing a new blue banner splashed across the front:

Contains NO HIGH FRUCTOSE Corn syrup

unlike Kellogg's® Raisin Bran

Now, there's some likeable advertising, telling you what you need to know and sticking it right in the competition's face. You go, Post!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

High fructose corn syrup may boost risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease

Drinks or foods with high fructose corn syrup may increase risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, according to a new animal study.

The study by A. Sheludiakova of University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia and colleagues found rats drinking sugary beverages got more abdominal fat, higher levels of triglycerides, and developed impaired insulin/glucose homeostasis, compared to those drinking water, even though the former did not gain more weight than the latter.

The researchers gave Male Hooded Wister rats free access to a drink with 10 percent sucrose or a 10 percent fructose/glucose (50/50) drink or water as controls in addition to a normal diet for 56 days, which is equivalent to four years for humans. Wister rats live an average of 3.1 years.

At the end of the dietary intervention, they measured metabolic parameters including triglycerides in the blood, liver triglycerides, abdominal fat, and oral glucose tolerance.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sweet Revenge, Chefs Pour on the Sugar

Matt Gordon, the chef and owner of Urban Solace, a modern-American restaurant in San Diego, spent months of work and $15,000 making sure the restaurant's sodas, cocktail mixers, ice cream and sauces all contained the same ingredient: sugar.

A growing number of restaurants across the country are retooling recipes to replace ingredients containing high-fructose corn syrup with other sweeteners including honey, agave nectar, golden syrup and palm sugar.

Mr. Gordon's restaurant, Jason's Deli, a 228-unit chain of casual restaurants; Lukshon, a high-end Asian restaurant in Los Angeles, and Guanajuato, a Mexican restaurant in Glencoe, Ill., have spent months or even years sourcing alternatives or demanding that their suppliers reformulate products to replace high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, with sugar.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sugar Farmers Sue Over 'Corn Sugar' Campaign

The sugar industry is seeking some sweet revenge. A group of sugar farmers and refiners have filed a lawsuit against several corn processors and their lobbying group for their effort to rebrand high-fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar".

The Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Co. and C&H Sugar Company Inc. are asking the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to end the corn industry campaign that markets high-fructose corn syrup as a natural product that is equivalent to sugar.

They say the campaign constitutes false advertising and are seeking compensation for lost profits and corrective advertising. The corn industry say the case has no merit.

The lawsuit is part of larger debate surrounding the sweetener among consumers, regulators and the food industry.

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Derailed train spills about 1,000 gallons of high-fructose corn syrup in Breckenridge

HFCS: Unsafe under many circumstances

Railroad workers had sticky mess to clean up in Breckenridge after a train derailed spilling about 1-thousand gallons of high-fructose corn syrup.

It happened Saturday afternoon. Four tankers that had just been filled with the corn syrup tipped over shortly after they were filled up at the Cargill plant in Wahpeton.

It's not clear what caused the derailment, but managers think a section of the track made soft by wet soil caused a wheel to catch on a switching point.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Is Monsanto a Clear and Present Threat to the US Food Supply?

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops have taken over store shelves like wildfire since they were approved by the FDA in 1992.

In fact, it is inherently more difficult to find products that do not contain GMO’s these days. GMO corn is used to make high fructose corn syrup, which is found in most processed foods.

Even if you ignore all of the health concerns and information revolving around the GMO issue, some of the troubling concerns regarding Monsanto’s brand of GMO’s are undeniable.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Corn Refiners Association: “Sugar is Sugar”? High Fructose Corn Syrup and Genetically Engineered Corn Syrup – The Industry’s Big Lie

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is the sugar industries’ bad penny. You know – the one that never goes away. Much like the proverbial bad penny, the CRA just keeps popping up. This time with its incessant barrage of “sugar is sugar” ads in the media. The millions spent on these ads could feed the more than one million of homeless children in America for a month instead of fostering obesity, illness and disease.

The CRA is stubborn, consistent and unrepentant in their message despite a 95% disapproval rating from viewers of their deceptive ads called “sugar is sugar”. Since 1947, it has been the voice of the corporate giants of the corn industry.

It is not a local organization based in the fields of corn that populate Iowa, Nebraska and bordering states. It is based smack dab in the middle of Washington, D.C.’s political lobbying district. And, it is not lobbying and advertising on behalf of small family farmers.

CRA companies produced more than 4 billion pounds of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. in 2009. That’s almost double the amount produced in 1990. Most of this high fructose corn syrup ended up in soft drinks of all kinds. The balance was used in processed foods such as soups, sauces and gravies.

In 2009 the per capita use of high fructose corn syrup reached 63.6 pounds per person. The synthetic fructose in high fructose corn syrup can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I can no longer be nice or gentle

To the Editor:

I am furious.

I find it impossible to believe what I saw in the papers last week.

Coca-Cola bottles featured in a Heart Health Fair? That is stupid. Sorry I can no longer be nice, or gentle, about this.

High fructose corn syrup is grown with e. coli in the seed. E. coli is bad for all hearts. E. coli cannot even be digested; that’s why so many of us carry extra flesh around our middles. We cannot digest it, so it just packs on our bodies.

Even if the industry succeeds in getting the name switched to corn sugar, it will still have e. coli in the seed, so that it is Round-Up ready when planted.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Turning Sour?

With the continuing controversy surrounding HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), CPG houses are quietly switching to alternative sweeteners.

The move is expensive, but consumers perceive cane or beet sugars as “natural” and HFCS as “processed.” Kraft, ConAgra and PepsiCo have all switched some of their products, with Kraft saying consumer comments had led to the decision. While there is little nutritional difference between sugar and HFCS, recent reports have linked the latter to the epidemic of obesity.

The health controversy and a decline in soft drink sales have cut profits at HFCS manufacturers Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Corn Products International Inc. with sales off 1/3% last year.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup In Beer?

My father is not a man of eclectic beer tastes. For years, all I remember him drinking was Stroh’s. Then it switched to Miller High Life. And, on special occasions and all vacations he would break out the Corona.

In the last few months, my dad came to the conclusion that all beers that use high fructose corn syrup in their recipes were bad for him. He started calling and emailing different breweries to find out if they use high fructose corn syrup. If they said yes, he stopped drinking them. If they didn’t respond, he stopped drinking them. And if they said they did not, he put those brews on his “acceptable” list.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Consumer groups urge FDA to reject ‘corn sugar’ label for HFCS

Consumer groups have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), urging it to reject a Corn Refiners Association bid to allow ‘corn sugar’ as an alternative labeling declaration for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) asked the FDA in September last year to consider the alternative name for use on product labels.

The CRA argued that allowing the use of ‘corn sugar’ on ingredient lists would help consumers understand that HFCS is simply a sugar made from corn.

The CRA - a trade association that represents the corn refining industry in the United States - has repeatedly stressed that HFCS is not high in fructose, even though that is what the name may suggest.

In fact it contains proportions of fructose and glucose similar to those of sucrose, but it has been the subject of a spate of bad publicity over the past few years, and food and beverage manufacturers have increasingly switched from HFCS to beet or cane sugar (sucrose).

However, consumer groups including the Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumers League have written to the FDA claiming that if food makers were allowed to label HFCS as corn sugar, it could obscure an ingredient with which the majority of consumers are already familiar.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sign the Petition To Keep High Fructose Corn Syrup Named HFCS Instead of "Corn Sugar"

High fructose corn syrup is like a third rail for food writers; when Brian was writing about "the mounting pile of evidence that high fructose corn syrup is unhealthier than ordinary table sugar", Marion Nestle was writing "HFCS is not poison. It is just a mixture of glucose and fructose in almost the same proportions as table sugar, sucrose....Let's give the Corn Refiners credit for calling a sugar a sugar." Michael Pollan was saying in Food Rule 4 that "sugar is sugar." I was writing "being natural doesn't mean better....We all consume far too much sweetener, wherever it comes from" and got fifty comments calling me an idiot.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

How High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Is Made

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is, as the name implies, corn syrup whose glucose has been partially changed into a different sugar, fructose. To make HFCS, you start with corn, then mill it to produce starch -corn starch. Starch, the most important carbohydrate in the human diet, consists of long chains of glucose. To make corn syrup, you mix the corn starch with water and then add an enzyme, produced by a bacterium, that breaks the starch down into shorter chains of glucose. Then you add another enzyme, produced by a fungus, that breaks the short chains down into glucose molecules. At that point, you have regular corn syrup.

To make the corn syrup into high fructose corn syrup, you turn some of its glucose molecules into fructose molecules by exposing the syrup to yet another enzyme, again produced by bacteria. This enzyme converts the glucose to a mixture of about 42 percent fructose and 53 percent glucose, with some other sugars as well. This syrup, called HFCS 42, is about as sweet as natural sugar (sucrose) and is used in foods and bakery items. HFCS 55, which contains approximately 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose, is sweeter than sucrose and is used mostly in soft drinks

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fructose Inhibits Brain Response

Fructose and Glucose Elicit Opposite Responses in the Human Brain.

I’ve had an ongoing disagreement with the National Corn Growers Association for years as to whether high fructose corn syrup reacts differently in the human brain and body than glucose. They’ve written letters to the editor of papers I write for and sent me e-mails trying to convince me, and readers of my columns, that my anecdotal information and scientific sources are incorrect.

Recently, Oregon Health Services University ( published a paper stating, “This study provides evidence in humans that fructose and glucose elicit opposite responses in the brain. It supports the animal research that shows similar findings and links fructose with obesity.”” Jonathan Purnell, M.D.

The report went on to say that fructose inhibits brain activity and many experts agree the increase in fructose and high fructose sweeteners in the American diet “directly correlates to the nation’s growing obesity epidemic.”

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Demand for corn outstrips supply

U.S. corn reserves are at a 15-year low, fueling fears of rising prices in the supermarket.

Chad E. Hart, an assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University and a grain market specialist, thinks consumers will notice an increase in prices -- notably at the meat counter -- within six to nine months.

Corn is used to feed cattle, hogs and chickens. Subsequently, he adds, livestock producers will be negatively impacted because of the higher feed costs. As the livestock inputs increase, they're passed on to the consumer.

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The difference between fructose and glucose: it's not all in your mind

Many food activists and public health researchers are ready to pin a substantial portion of blame for the nation's obesity epidemic on the skyrocketing consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, widely used to sweeten processed foods and beverages in the U.S. since the 1980s. But food and beverage makers are fighting back.

Glucose and fructose are both simple sugars--and equal parts of each is the recipe for table sugar. (High-fructose corn syrup is a bit more intensely sweet because it's made up of 55% fructose.) But scientists have long suspected there are differences in the way the human body processes these two forms of carbohydrate. But much of that research has been conducted on animals, leading many to question whether the human body makes any distinction between glucose and fructose.

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Consumer Group to FDA: Don't Hide High Fructose Corn Syrup Behind Misleading 'Corn Sugar' Name

The nation's oldest consumer group told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today that allowing a name change of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to "Corn Sugar" would be misleading to consumers and possibly expose the agency to future dilemma, depending on how scientific research and public perception may continue to evolve.

"Regardless of where you stand on the debate over High Fructose Corn Syrup and its effects on our waistlines and our health, changing the name after decades of use is unfair to consumers," said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League. "Consumers are familiar with HFCS, they know how to find it on Nutrition Facts labels, and they deserve consistency so they can continue to make purchasing decisions."

The National Consumers League (NCL), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit watchdog group, filed formal comments with the FDA urging the agency to reject a petition by the Corn Refiners Association requesting that the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup, a sweetener commonly found in soft drinks and processed foods, be changed to "Corn Sugar."

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