Renewing the High Fructose Corn Syrup Debate

July 23, 2008 at 1:45 am 2 comments

Is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) ‘natural’ or not?

First, the FDA says “no”. (See post, April 3). And, now it’s a “yes”, provided synthetic fixing agents do not come into contact with HFCS during processing. The pendulum has swung back toward the side of Archer Daniels Midland, the largest US manufacturer of HFCS, and favoring the Corn Refiners Association position that HFCS is a natural sweetener.

The debate rages on because the FDA has yet to provide a formal definition of ‘natural’ to be used on food labels and for food product claims. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used primarily as a sweetener in beverages, and is produced by processing corn.

Does this look natural to you?!

Does this look natural to you?!

This latest FDA interpretation is soundly renounced by the sugar industry and consumer groups, including CSPI , which argues that HFCS cannot be considered natural because its chemical bonds are broken and rearranged during the manufacturing process.

The debate will continue unless and until the FDA prepares a formal definition for the term, ‘natural’. In the meantime, it will be left open to interpretation not only by the food industry, but within the FDA, too.

However, any ingredient that needs defining in such technically convoluted terms should be disqualified from consideration as ‘natural’ anything. Just one look at the cola and you decide: is there anything about the ingredients that make this beverage appear grown from the garden ? Hmmmm.


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Entry filed under: Food Ingredients, Nutrition News. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cathy  |  August 11, 2008 at 6:44 am

    It’s disgusting that big corporations and lobbyists can have their way with the FDA as they so clearly have in this case. No one in their right mind would call HFCS a natural substance.

  • 2. Clare  |  July 23, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Like you, I cannot believe that hfcs can even be considered “natural” by any definition. I’m working on a campaign to show major soda companies how many people would be interested in buying sodas that were made with pure cane or beet sugar instead of HFCS. If you’re interested at all you can find it at http://www.thepoint.com.

    Also – have you ever heard of the Organic School Project – I think you would really like their mission!

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