Recently this year, The Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup to "corn sugar". The sweetened name is to appear on all food labels and advertisement campaigns. So why the name change?
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a common ingredient in most sodas and soft drinks. In fact, HFCS is the most popular sweetener used in beverages and processed foods alike. But with this ubiquitous ingredient, many have questioned the health risks. As a result of mixed claims and negative publicity, the corn industry has had a decrease in sales. So with this knowledge in mind, is it fair to suggest the attempt at a new name from the Corn Industry is an advertisement ploy to increase more consumers?
Tony Isaacs from Natural News believes so, stating:
"The industry would have us believe that the name change is for our own good to clear up confusion about HFCS. However, others question whether the proposed change is much more about marketing, hiding health dangers and keeping profits high than it is about any concern for consumers."
The industrys push for the new name is said by the petition to indeed, clear up any consumer confusion of the product: the name corn sugar is to reflect the source (corn), and the function (a sweetener). However, is high-fructose corn syrup a sugar? And if not, is the title misleading?
Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University, says:
It is not corn sugar. The Food and Drug Administration already has a definition for that, and its just glucose (dextrose). High-fructose corn syrup does come from corn. Its made by extracting the starch from corn, treating it with enzymes to make glucose, and treating the glucose with other enzymes to turn about half of it into fructose. And it comes as a syrup, not crystals. So from a chemical standpoint, corn glucose and fructose syrup is exactly what it is.
But Nestles claim that HFCS is not a sugar (in chemical properties) is debated by both the industry and researchers alike. High-fructose corn syrup is argued to be no higher in fructose than regular sugar, and thus, is a basic sugar. The true verdict likens with the publics awareness of the difference between glucose and fructose and whether corn sugar is a misleading advertisement.
Although the Food and Drug Administration could take up to 2 years deciding on the petition for the new name, the Corn Refiners Association has started the advertisement campaign of Corn Sugar. Television commercials featuring confused shoppers learning about the "harmless benefits" of corn syrup are airing on many children and adult targeted channels, trying to change the minds of consumers.
Still, the campaigns development is facing a harder time persuading the American public of the values in HFCS due to the links in obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even metabolic defects. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, has even said publicly she does not want her daughters eating it.
The effect of the name change is still questionable as the campaign grows and media outlets like The Huffington Post ask, Will shoppers swallow the new name?
Picture from newsanchormom.blogspot.com