Posted by Linda Bonvie
January 17, 2012
The 2010 petition from the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) to rebrand the unnatural and increasingly unpopular sweetener high fructose corn syrup as“corn sugar” is still open for comment. This means you still have a chance to protest this sneaky move on the part of the CRA to assign an innocuous-sounding alias to an ingredient that consumers are shunning in droves. Since the FDA says it reads and “considers these comments,” we need to have as many concerned and conscientious consumers as possible go on record in opposing this outrageous attempt at concealment. So make sure you click here and get your comment into the FDA while the petition is still open, (If you don’t have the time to compose a personal message, there are several on this page that you can copy and paste at the FDA docket.)
Here are a few tips on comment submissions to the FDA: Under “Organization Name” you can simply put “none,” “self” or anything else that applies. You can leave the space under “Submitter’s Representative” blank if you want, and under“Category,” there is a drop-down menu with a bunch of choices with “Consumer” at the very bottom. It’s easy to add your comment and make yourself heard. The more folks who add their names and comments to this petition, the better the chance the FDA will realize that the public won’t stand for being hoodwinked in this devious manner.
While all submitted comments have not yet been added to the FDA site, there’s hope that most, if not all, may eventually be posted there, as it appears the agency has been updating it several times a week for about a month now, with some 1,482 public submissions currently appearing. Here a few of the latest:
“I won’t buy ANYTHING in food items that contain it and are educating all my friends and family to do the same. Don’t let them change the name. How will we know where it is hiding if we can’t find it?”
“Please do not be fooled by the CRA’s attempt to change the name of a known food additive, High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS, to the less specific and deceptive ‘corn sugar’. This is an obvious attempt to deceive health conscious consumers and businesses…They need to be able to avoid it safely, by being able to readily identify it in their consumer products.”
“I object to the relabeling of the product “high-fructose corn syrup” as corn sugar. The word ‘Sugar’ has been used for centuries to refer to the product that comes from sugarcane or sugar beets. Additionally, there’s already a food product recognized by the FDA with the name “corn sugar. (It’s NOT High Fructose Corn Syrup.)”
Misrepresentation, or just a big ‘misunderstanding’?
So why the attempted name change? While most consumers recognize it for what it is – a marketing ploy designed to misrepresent an undesirable food additive and confuse the issue, the CRA will tell you it’s actually meant to clear up all the confusion. That’s right — its purpose, according to them, is to benefit consumers by eliminating any misunderstanding created by the high fructose corn syrup moniker. “An ingredient should not be ‘driven out of the marketplace’ because it has a name that is widely misunderstood by the public,” says the CRA on one of its many webinars for those in the food business.
Of course, nothing is contrived to confuse consumers quite as much as the claim put forth by Big Corn is that HFCS is a “natural” ingredient. The funniest example of this misleading statement comes out of the CRA site Cornnaturally.com – part of the group’s “educational campaign” geared mostly for folks in the food industry. Almost like something straight out of a Saturday Night Live routine, fifth-generation Illinois farmer Len Corzine tells us in a video that HFCS is a “very natural product because we’re taking a product from the corn, which takes energy from the sun to produce sugars and starches…”
Wow, Len, thanks! I hadn’t realized that the sun was responsible for making the corn grow. That sure makes anything remotely derived from it natural, right?
In reality, making high fructose corn syrup is a multi-step, chemical process that utilizes a synthetic “fixing” agent chemical and enzymatic reactions that eventually make it possible to conjure fructose out of corn starch. As CRA president Audrae Erickson says in the movie King Corn, “There’s a lot of technology that goes into making HFCS.”
All of which is why I hope thousands of us consumers will comment to the FDA about this great marketing scam. Let’s let the CRA know we are not confused at all, We know an unnatural product – and attempted food identity theft – when we see it!