Corn Refiners are Stuck with High Fructose Corn Syrup, FDA Rules

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on June 13, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Does corn sugar sound more appealing than High Fructose Corn Syrup to you? The Corn Refiners Association certainly thought so.

Unfortunately, the FDA isn't on aboard with the branding switch. The FDA denied the lobbying group's attempt to rebrand High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to the more neutral corn sugar. 

Concerns about adverse health effects caused the popularity of HFCS to plummet over the past several years and consumers are still wary of products that use the much-maligned sweetener.

But the real issue for national corporations is whether the FDA's decision is intended as a slap on the wrist in response to public outcry.

Luckily for national sellers, it appears that the FDA's decision was based on concerns over public health. It likely wasn't an attempt to block the Corn Refiner's Association from rebranding HFCS entirely.

The Corn Refiners Association initially petitioned in 2010 to change the labeling of High Fructose Corn Syrup in a rebranding play.

But the FDA this month held the public understands sugar as a solid granular ingredient. So labeling HFCS, a liquid sweetener, as sugar would be misleading. Perhaps more importantly, "corn sugar" is the label for pure dextrose with is an alternative sweetener for people who are sensitive or intolerant to fructose, NPR reports.

The name corn sugar has been a signifier for decades that a product is made without fructose. Expanding that label to include HFCS, a high fructose product as its name suggests, would be misleading and potentially dangerous to consumers.

While the Corn Refiners Association is unhappy with the decision, it's pretty clear that they are free to try another rebranding strategy so long as it's not misleading or confusing.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard