High Fructose Corn Syrup Up for a New Name

Sep 14, 2010
Megan Bedard is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.
Sugar squeezed from corn? Not exactly. (fishhawk/Creative Commons)

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA)—the trade organization that champions high fructose corn syrup—has applied with the Food and Drug Administration to approve a more innocuous name for what it says is merely "corn sugar." 

The CRA claims that the new moniker will provide transparency to the consumer, and make a "safe" ingredient less scary.

Opponents argue the move is an attempt to sidestep high fructose corn syrup's negative image. Of late, companies like Hunt's Ketchup have pulled the ingredient from their products. Coca Cola earned bragging rights for using real sugar in Mexican Coke.

Unsurprisingly, Center for Science in the Public interest doesn't endorse the new name. "[The name] implies that it's squeezed out of corn, and it's not," said Executive Director Michael Jacobsen, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

According to the New York Times, "High-fructose corn syrup is made essentially by soaking corn kernels to extract corn starch, and using enzymes to turn the glucose in the starch into fructose."

Jacobsen would prefer names like "chemically converted corn syrup" or "glucose-fructose corn syrup." He admits that "corn sugar" at least gives people an idea of what they're consuming.

According to Yahoo News, "Americans' consumption of corn syrup has fallen to a 20-year low on consumer concerns that it is more harmful or more likely to cause obesity than ordinary sugar."

Will a name change be enough to lure consumers back into their corn syrup-sucking ways?

We'll know for sure within two years, when the name change—if approved—will be finalized.

Photo: fishhawk/Creative Commons via Flickr

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