December 1, 2011

For fairness to farmers, consumers, let's switch to 'corn sugar' on labels

A piece with the title of this post on allowing "high fructose corn syrup" (HCFS) to be called "corn sugar" appeared in the Omaha World Herald yesterday. It was written by Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague, Neb., and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

This is the second piece in Nebraska's two main dailies in the last week. If you recall, the Lincoln Journal Star took a stand on the issue on Thanksgiving.

Here are a few lines from Sousek, but you can check out the full piece here.
A petition now before the Food and Drug Administration seeks approval to allow the alternate name "corn sugar" for "high fructose corn syrup" as an option on food ingredient labels. The FDA has yet to rule, and it is by no means a sure thing that the FDA will approve the request.

Why the request for a name change? The truth is that the term "corn sugar" more accurately describes what this ingredient actually is — a sugar made from corn. Ingredient names on food labels should be clear and reflect in no uncertain terms what the ingredient is. And you can't get much clearer than "corn sugar." This alternate name would enable consumers to better identify added sugars in the foods they purchase and clear up lingering consumer confusion.

This is not a partisan issue. Both of Nebraska's U.S. senators, Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns, have argued that the name change is entirely appropriate, telling the FDA in a June 24 letter that " 'corn sugar' is a better alternate name for high fructose corn syrup. Consumers better understand its fructose level, calories and sweetness when the term 'corn sugar' is substituted for high fructose corn syrup."

Science also supports the change to "corn sugar." Comparing high fructose corn syrup to table sugar, the two ingredients contain almost equal parts of the two simple sugars — fructose and glucose. The American Dietetic Association stated that table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are nutritionally equivalent.

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