Consumer groups to F.D.A.: Deny corn sugar petition

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — Four groups have asked the Food and Drug Administration to “promptly deny” a petition from the Corn Refiners Association designed to give food and beverage companies the option of changing the name of high-fructose corn syrup to corn sugar.

In an April 17 letter sent to the F.D.A., the National Consumers League, the Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America and Shape Up America! said a marketing campaign from the Washington-based C.R.A. confuses consumers wishing to avoid HFCS because the campaign calls it corn sugar. The letter argued that by failing to deny the petition, The F.D.A. allows the C.R.A. to continue running the campaign.

The C.R.A., in filing the petition in September 2010, sought to allow manufacturers the option of using corn sugar as an alternative name for HFCS. The C.R.A. said corn sugar accurately describes the product as a natural ingredient that comes from corn. The C.R.A. also said the name high-fructose corn syrup inaccurately may imply that it is higher in fructose than some other sweeteners when in fact HFCS and sugar are both roughly about half glucose and half fructose.

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