Posted by Linda Bonvie
October 4, 2011
In its latest attempt to “clear up confusion” the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has again let us know just how much confusion they are causing.
Found today on the home page of the CRA’s cornsugar.com website is this statement:
“The term ‘corn sugar’ today is an FDA approved alternate label name for dextrose, a corn-based sweetener that contains no fructose. When we use the phrase ‘corn sugar,’ we are using it to describe high fructose corn syrup as a form of sugar made from corn.”
Let’s look at what they are saying; When anyone else (including the FDA) uses the term “corn sugar” they are referring to dextrose (also called glucose), a product that contains NO fructose. But when the CRA says “corn sugar” they mean HFCS, a different product entirely, one that HAS fructose. Sorry, CRA, I think you guys need to go back to the drawing board on that one.
The CRA’s message, while appearing to be baffling, is no doubt a carefully constructed statement analyzed by many within the organization – possibly in response to the Associated Press releasing documents from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking the trade group to refrain from using “corn sugar” in place of high fructose corn syrup.
Last month, the AP released a July letter from the FDA to the Corn Refiners Association revealing that the agency had asked the CRA to “…reexamine your websites and modify statements that use the term ‘corn sugar’ as a synonym for (high fructose corn syrup).”
The story also quoted an email from Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association to the AP saying,”We do not believe that anyone could be confused or believe that the statements regarding `corn sugar’ on the websites refer to anything other than high fructose corn syrup.”
As the CRA is not technically “selling” a product, but is an industry trade group, it appears to believe the FDA does not have enforcement control over its activities, however, some legal authorities think that the FDA, or more likely the Federal Trade Commission, probably has authority to prohibit misleading statements on the CRA site. The FDA can, and has, gone after companies that manufacture food products for misbranding, and according to the AP story “….the FDA may launch enforcement action against food companies listing high fructose corn syrup as ‘corn sugar’.”
As hard as the Corn Refiners Association might might try, there’s just no way it can manage to sugar coat the confusion and contradictions inherent in its attempts to turn High Fructose Corn Syrup into something it’s not.
Items found in the supermarket yesterday that have removed or contain no HFCS and say so on the packaging: