This week five sugar companies and two trade associations joined forces with a lawsuit intended to stop corn processors from marketing high fructose corn syrup as a “natural” ingredient on the same level as sugar. The lawsuit, which was originally filed by Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Co, and C&H Sugar Co. Inc, is a reaction against the corn industry’s pending petition to the FDA to allow the phrase “corn sugar” to substitute for high fructose corn syrup on ingredient labels.
The lawsuit claims that the mass media campaign the corn processing industry has undertaken to support its FDA petition constitutes false advertising, in violation of federal and state law. This mass-media campaign, which is reportedly costing the corn industry a cool $50 million, supports its FDA petition with a blitz of television and print ads claiming that there is “no meaningful difference” between high fructose corn syrup and sucrose and that a person’s body can’t tell different types of sugar apart. The lawsuit raised by sugar companies asks for an injunction against the ads as well as monetary damages to cover the cost of “corrective advertising.”
SEE RELATED STORIES FROM WDM CONTENT NETWORK
- Food Pyramid Out, MyPlate In
- Oxfam America Report Points to Rising Food Prices
- The Process Behind Frozen Pizza Production
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE LATEST EDITION OF FOOD & DRINK DIGITAL
“The corn processors have been trying to mislead consumers for more than two years and now claim in their public statements and advertising that a name change would more 'accurately describe' high-fructose corn syrup," said Imperial Sugar Company President and CEO John Sheptor in the lawsuit’s press release. "The attempted name change is an intentional effort to deceive consumers and, most disingenuously, it's being done under the guise of consumer clarity. We are taking a stand to challenge this marketing ploy for what it is."
The companies who have joined the lawsuit this week are American Sugar Refining, Amalgamated Sugar Co., Imperial Sugar Co., Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, and the United States Sugar Corp, in addition to the Sugar Association and the American Sugar Cane League. The defendants in the lawsuit include the Corn Refiners Association and companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Corn Products International, Penford Products, Roquette America, and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas.
And now for some comic relief: