Rockville, MD—On May 30, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially told the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) that its September 2010 citizens petition to allow the term “corn sugar” to replace “high-fructose corn syrup” (HFCS) was going nowhere.

In an official letter from the agency, FDA stated there are not sufficient grounds to warrant this substitution. The first problem with the petition, according to FDA, is that the term “sugar” is intended for substances that are solid, dried or crystallized; HFCS is none of these. Rather, it is an aqueous substance. Second, FDA didn’t buy CRA’s argument that dextrose should not be an alternate name for corn sugar. FDA stated, “We are not persuaded by the arguments in the petition that consumers do not associate ‘corn sugar’ with dextrose. The term ‘corn sugar’ has been used to describe dextrose for over 30 years.”

CRA issued a prepared statement in reaction to FDA’s decision expressing its disappointment. The group still was clinging to the fact that HFCS is considered part of the sugar category on nutrition fact panels. But, CRA and FDA may agree on one thing: in CRA’s words, “the vast majority of American consumers are confused about HFCS.” 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2012 (online 5/31/2012)