High Fructose Corn Syrup’s PR Battle To Become Corn Sugar

United States Food Admininstration corn products posterHere’s hoping that the lead story in today’s New York Times Business section is enough to steel Congressmen and women against the big-spending lobbyists and public relations flacks hired by agribusinesses like ADM to try to sneak more High Fructose Corn Syrup into Americans’ foodstuffs. As if we don’t already consume enough of their toxic sludge!

WASHINGTON — The corn refinery and sugar industries, bitter rivals in the manufacture of billions of dollars’ worth of sweeteners for sodas and other high-calorie foods, covertly funded dueling nonprofit groups in Washington in a multiyear effort to grab market share, while also stoking fears among consumers about possible health risks, court records made public in a federal lawsuit between the two parties show.

The lawsuit, which has brought hundreds of pages of secret corporate emails and strategy documents into the public domain, demonstrates how Washington-based groups and academic experts frequently become extensions of corporate lobbying campaigns as rival industries use them to try to inflict damage on their competitors or defend their reputations against such assaults.

In this case, academic research published a decade ago suggested that high-fructose corn syrup, the popular food additive, might be a less healthy sweetener than sugar and perhaps even partly responsible for rising obesity and diabetes.

Stung by such assertions, which the corn industry insisted were false, farming giants including Archer Daniels Midland, of Decatur, Ill., and Cargill, of Minneapolis, began an effort through their Washington trade group, the Corn Refiners Association, to rebut these studies and to persuade the Food and Drug Administration to declare its syrup “natural” and allow a more approachable product name, like “corn sugar.”

While these actions have already been the subject of public debate, the corporate documents show that the sugar and corn industries collectively spent tens of millions of dollars to influence public opinion, at times without full public disclosure, about the risks or benefits of using high-fructose corn syrup.

The public relations campaign by the Corn Refiners Association was the most extensive, spending more than $30 million since 2008, budget documents released as part of the lawsuit suggest.

The corn industry executives were determined to find a way to reverse the drop in market share that began as certain popular products, including Gatorade and Wheat Thins, switched sweeteners in response to the perceived health concerns.

Their efforts included spending about $10 million over a four-year period to help fund research being conducted by a Massachusetts-based cardiologist and health expert, Dr. James M. Rippe, who then released a series of studies disputing any special health consequences associated with the corn-based sweeter…

[continues in the New York Times]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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15 Comments on "High Fructose Corn Syrup’s PR Battle To Become Corn Sugar"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Feb 12, 2014 at 10:34 am |

    I vote for “Corn Manna”. Failing that, “Corn Nectar’ ought to do nicely.

    • American Cannibal | Feb 12, 2014 at 10:47 am |

      Mmmm… Corn Nectar. yummy-yummy, make my tummy happee.

      I don’t care what the hell they call it as long as they keep injecting this shit into my hot dogs.

  2. Cortacespedes | Feb 12, 2014 at 11:18 am |

    Both cane sugar and HFCS are godawful. Heavily subsidized, diabetes enabling, chronic toxins.

    • Posthuman | Feb 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm |

      Have any info on cane sugar to support that? I don’t touch the refined stuff or HFCS, but wasn’t aware of any drawbacks of cane sugar in moderation…

      • moderation is key, but the fructose side of the glucose-fructose (sucrose) molecule is essentially toxic. The fiber in plants that have sugar counterbalance the toxicity to make it not much of a problem, IE eating fruits is much better than refined sugar(given unrefined cane sugar is probably better). I wish i could find the talk I heard this from, but the speaker described sugarcane as a stick, with like a (guestimated) 95% plant fiber, and is essentially inedible.

        So yes, with moderation (like in cooking, rather than 3 packets in a cup of coffee) it can be alright, but in foods with nothing but other carbs (IE cake/candy) in it, its doing more harm than good

        • Liam_McGonagle | Feb 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm |

          All excellent points.

          But if excessive consumption of the stuff takes a lot of fat, stupid buffoons out of the gene pool, can we really consider it harmful?

          • ahh but the fat stupid buffoons are the least likely to hear, let alone listen to the points. Otherwise I’m not so sure I can argue with that one. also, something something, collectivized medical costs something something, but that another argument entirely…

        • Cortacespedes | Feb 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm |

          I posted a link in my reply to Posthuman that is probably the lecture you heard this from. (It should get thru moderation sometime today.)

          It’s Dr. Lustig on UCTV, titled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”.

  3. lilbear68 | Feb 12, 2014 at 11:37 am |

    we have cane sugar, and we have beet sugar. in my brewing I use corn sugar. I have a 4 lb bag of corn sugar waiting for my next batch of beer that ill brew. I don’t understand what the argument against corn sugar is about, they are all chemically identical

    • BuzzCoastin | Feb 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm |

      the corn sugar is gmo
      that’s why

      ps beet sugar is now gmo too

      • lilbear68 | Feb 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm |

        not if the corn is organic, same for beets
        and what keeps sugar cane from being GMO?

        • BuzzCoastin | Feb 12, 2014 at 12:36 pm |

          fda organic is not trustworthy
          I did find one vendor selling certified oganic corn sugar
          out of stock
          hard to believe that organicly grown corn
          is not somehow gmo tainted

          industrial sugar
          hasn’t needed gmo sugar cane

  4. BuzzCoastin | Feb 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm |

    no mention in the article
    that hfcs is made primarily from gmo corn
    and sugar cane is not yet gmo

  5. Rhoid Rager | Feb 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm |

    just go with honey. start your own hive, and help fight CCD.

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