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.