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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