Corn Refiners Hoping for Sweet Victory in Courts

The high-stakes battle continues in sugar-land. On September 4, four companies affiliated with the Corn Refiners Association (ADM, Cargill, Ingredion and Tate & Lyle) filed a counterclaim against The Sugar Association for supposedly fooling Americans into thinking that sugar is safer and healthier than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), “despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the two forms of sugar are nutritionally equivalent.”

The four companies (also among the nation’s biggest corn processors) assert that The Sugar Association is essentially lying when it says that processed sugar is any better for one’s health than HFCS when it links only the latter to health problems like obesity. Their case is that “vilifying one kind of added sugar will not reduce Americans’ waistlines.” Rather, reducing all kinds of sugars and calories is a fairer approach to weight loss. The group cites several studies to back up its claims.

This action is in response to an April 2011 lawsuit brought on by sugar farmers that sought to block the messaging to consumers that table sugar and HFCS are nutritionally equivalent, which they deemed as scientifically untrue. The farmers also felt it was misleading to classify HFCS as natural because of the processing involved. Despite the efforts of corn refiners, the case will not be dismissed. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently said it would not allow a name change from HFCS to “corn sugar.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, October 2012