Instrotech
Carst and Walker
Corn Sugar

No new name for high-fructose corn syrup

The US FDA has rejected a request from the Corn Refiners Association to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup.

The association, which represents the companies that make the syrup, had petitioned the FDA in September 2010 to begin calling the much-maligned sweetener “corn sugar.” The request came on the heels of a national advertising campaign promoting the syrup as a natural ingredient made from corn.

But in a letter, Michael M Landa, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA, denied the petition, saying that the term “sugar” is used only for food “that is solid, dried and crystallized.”

“HFCS is an aqueous solution sweetener derived from corn after enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch, followed by enzymatic conversion of glucose (dextrose) to fructose,” the letter stated. “Thus, the use of the term ‘sugar’ to describe HFCS, a product that is a syrup, would not accurately identify or describe the basic nature of the food or its characterizing properties.”

In addition, the FDA concluded that the term “corn sugar” has been used to describe the sweetener dextrose and therefore should not be used to describe high-fructose corn syrup.

The agency also said the term “corn sugar” could pose a risk to consumers who have been advised to avoid fructose because of a hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption.

“Because such individuals have associated ‘corn sugar’ to be an acceptable ingredient to their health when ‘high-fructose corn syrup’ is not, changing the name for HFCS to ‘corn sugar’ could put these individuals at risk and pose a public health concern,” the letter stated.

In a statement, the Corn Refiners Association said that FDA officials had rejected the petition on “narrow, technical grounds.” “They did not address or question the overwhelming scientific evidence that high-fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar and is nutritionally the same as other sugars,” the statement said.

To read the full FDA letter go to: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/CFSANFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm305226.htm

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