A common ingredient in our packaged food and drinks that’s made from corn could be in need of a name change to improve its image , and market share. Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, says they’re petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar.
Erickson says the current name is confusing. “Consumers believe that high fructose corn syrup is indeed high in fructose, when in fact, it isn’t,” Erickson says. “It’s low in fructose for the versions used in many foods found in grocery stores. It’s equally caloric to table sugar and equally sweet.” Iowa is the nation’s top corn producer. Erickson says the FDA could take months or even years to approve renaming the product we routinely see on food labels.
“This is a process that’s really only been followed two times in food history, one, when prunes became dried plumbs, and secondly, when low erucic acid rapeseed oil became canola oil,” Erickson says. “In both those cases, the FDA acted in the interest of consumer clarity.” Erickson says the corn sweetener has a bad reputation and has been inaccurately blamed for the rising number of Type 2 diabetes cases and the nation’s obesity epidemic. Aside from the health angle, she says the corn-based sweetener is also better for the economy.
“This is an ingredient that’s grown in America from American-made corn and it’s processed here in America,” Erickson says. “That stands in stark contrast to some of the other sweeteners, honey and table sugar, a fair portion of which are imported. In the case of sugar, we import sugar from 40 countries.” She notes, consumption of high fructose corn syrup is at a 20-year low.