FDA denies petition to rename high-fructose corn syrup

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2012 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today denied a Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petition to rename high-fructose corn syrup “corn sugar,” saying the action would confuse U.S. consumers and could even pose a health risk to those suffering from fructose intolerance.

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The FDA ruling, issued in a letter to Corn Refiners Association President Audrae Erickson following 20 months of review, rejected the three arguments made in the CRA's petition, which was filed on September 14, 2010. The CRA asked the FDA to implement a name change after launching a multi-million dollar advertising and marketing campaign to argue that sugar and HFCS are identical.

Those actions set off more than a year of litigation initiated by The Sugar Association in an attempt to stop the CRA's campaign. That lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

According to the FDA letter announcing its denial of the petition, “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.”

Second, the FDA stated, “We are not persuaded by the arguments in the petition that consumers do not associate ‘corn sugar' with dextrose.  The term ‘corn sugar' has been used to describe dextrose for over 30 years.”

The FDA decision also implied that granting the CRA petition could endanger some consumers.

“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,” said Michael M. Landa, Director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in the letter to Erickson. “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.”

Read the full FDA letter here. http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/CFSANFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm305226.htm


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