Posted by Linda Bonvie
October 27, 2011
As I have been reporting here at Food Identity Theft, the FDA docket for the petition submitted from the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) to change the identity of high fructose corn syrup to the sweet-sounding name “corn sugar” had been holding at 127 posted public submissions.
My question as to how many were actually submitted, had gone unanswered by the FDA for some time now. Finally, last Wednesday (after many nagging e-mails to my FDA contact) I was told that 3,398 comments had actually been received by the agency so far about this HFCS name game charade! Now we all know that the FDA works in mysterious ways, but after much hemming and hawing from my contact as to why more comments were not posted, suddenly this week the tally is over 190 and growing!
Some of the just-posted comments include:
High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad news regardless of it’s name. Please don’t bow down to the CRA to change the name to something sexier. Bad is bad. Thank you for listening.
The current name “high fructose corn syrup” did not become scary because of the name, but rather because it has earned a certain reputation. Changing the name would disguise an ingredient that consumers have the right to be aware of. Even further, calling it “corn sugar” would be distortion of the truth, as this is not a natural sugar product that comes from corn. Clearly, “high fructose corn syrup” is the most accurate depiction of the ingredient and consumers are familiar with the term – changing it so late in the game just to make it sound more “chic” would be unethical.
And this one from a self-described “health professional” associated with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine:
If the FDA is really considering giving High Fructose Corn Syrup a name change then the catchy “Chemically Converted Corn Syrup” will certainly have my full support. PLEASE don’t “sugar-coat” what HFCS really is for the already confused general public. If you’re going to change the name, then tell people what it really is, so they have a better idea about the garbage they are unwittingly consuming.
ALL of the newly posted comments I have had a chance to look at so far are totally opposed to this corn sugar ‘cornswoggle’. Here are a few more of the new ones:
Changing the name seems like a deceitful act, and one that will encourage people to disrespect the FDA.
This is a ridiculous PR move that is so obviously deceptive.
I strongly request that your high fructose corn syrup not be renamed to “corn sugar”, or any such title giving the false impression to consumers that this is a naturally occurring or healthy product.
It is quite obvious from these comments that the public sees through this attempt to deliberately deceive us and is not being fooled. But let’s not lose our momentum here, because we have to remember that powerful interests are at work attempting to influence the FDA’s decision. So please submit your own comment to the FDA ASAP. In the meantime, I will continue to stay on top of the issue and request that the FDA allow all of our voices to be heard so that hopefully most, if not all, of the your messages will eventually get online.
Also of interest is a recent ruling by a California federal judge allowing the case brought by American sugar farmers against “Big Corn” to continue.
In response to this ruling, as reported by Fox News online, Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, said the sugar farmers were “attempting to shut down free speech.”
Now we are not exactly sure what “free speech” Ms. Erickson is referring to, but if it has to do with the Corn Refiners Association calling HFCS “corn sugar” the FDA already has asked them to stop doing that.
Documents released by the Associated Press in September from the Food and Drug Administration to the CRA reveal that the FDA had asked the corn trade group to refrain from using “corn sugar” in place of high fructose corn syrup, and specifically to “…reexamine your websites and modify statements that use the term ‘corn sugar’ as a synonym for (high fructose corn syrup).”
Stay tuned for a new addition to our “culprits” section – when is the “NO MSG” label false and misleading? If you are one of the millions who have decided to cut monosodium glutamate out of your diet, you won’t want to miss this report.