In June of this year, a group of sugar companies and trade associations led by the Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Co., and C&H Sugar Co., filed a lawsuit against the Corn Refiners Association. The charge: that a $50 million mass media campaign, launched by the association to support its petition to the FDA, is false advertising and in violation of state and federal law. A successful petition would allow the industry to substitute the phrase “corn sugar” for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on ingredient labels – as such, the ad campaign contends that there’s “no meaningful difference” between HFCS and other less processed types of sugar, and that the human body can’t tell the two apart. The cane sugar industry isn’t buying it, and today a federal judge will be considering the case in court as the Corn Refiners Association moves to dismiss the suit completely.
That judge will have a lot to consider, as this is a topic about which people tend to feel very strongly in one way or another. The main argument against high fructose corn syrup and its labeling as “corn sugar” is the amount of processing that goes into its production versus other forms of sugars. "It is not natural, it does not exist in nature," said Adam Fox, an attorney for the sugar industry, to the Huffington Post. "Sugar comes from cane and beet, high fructose corn syrup requires advanced technology."
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Meanwhile, the Corn Refiners Association describes the fructose in HFCS as just a simple sugar, similar to that found in fruits and honey and completely identical in makeup to table sugar. Other experts like the American Medical Association are still in debate over the subject, claiming that so far there’s not enough research to indicate any negative effects yet.
With so much to consider, only one thing’s for certain: no matter what the judge decides, this won’t be the last of the high fructose corn syrup debate.