The Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking it to allow the term ‘corn sugar’ as an alternative label declaration for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
HFCS has suffered from a spate of bad publicity in recent years, and food and beverage manufacturers have been increasingly switching it out of their products in preference for beet or cane sugar (sucrose).
The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has said that the reason it filed a petition with the FDA was to be clear with consumers about what HFCS is: A sugar made from corn. The CRA – a trade association that represents the corn refining industry in the United States – has repeatedly stressed that HFCS is not high in fructose, even though that is what the name may suggest. In fact it contains proportions of fructose and glucose that are similar to sucrose.
President of the Corn Refiners Association Audrae Erickson told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “The words ‘high fructose corn syrup’ have caused confusion…This is all about consumer clarity on the ingredient label.”
She said that in much the same way that there is beet sugar and cane sugar, sugar from corn should be called ‘corn sugar’ in order to give it a name that is easily understood.
It is expected to take up to two years for the FDA to come to a decision on whether to approve the renaming.
The American Dietetic Association has also found that HFCS is "nutritionally equivalent to sucrose”, and that it is metabolized by the body in the same way as sucrose.
Erickson said: “We hope that the FDA will act positively on our petition in the interest of consumer clarity."
This is not the first time that a name change has been sought for an ingredient that has been declining in popularity in an effort to simplify its image with consumers.
In November last year, Ajinomoto rebranded its aspartame ingredient ‘AminoSweet’, saying the time was right to “remind people that aspartame is made from two amino acids and brings absolutely nothing new to the diet, just sweetness without the calories”.