Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The High Fructose Corn Syrup deception: how you can speak to the FDA

Recently, I wrote an email to the Food & Drug Administration:

In September, the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the FDA to allow them to re-label High-Fructose Corn Syrup as "Corn Sugar". The Corn Refiners claim that this is a move meant to quell confusion in consumers, but as more-and-more studies have linked HFCS with health problems, it seems more likely that this is a move that is actually meant to confuse consumers into thinking they are ingesting something other from this increasingly unpopular ingredient they have come to learn about.
People know High-Fructose Corn Syrup by that name, and the facts they've learned about that ingredient are attached to that name. If the name isn't the best indication of the ingredient's properties, it is up to the corn refiners to put the word out as to how that is the case. It should not be up to the consumers to figure out which ingredients have benefited from convenient name-changes each time questions regarding the item's health effects have been questioned.  I am deeply disturbed by this ploy by the Corn Refiners Association, and I am hoping to urge the FDA to not allow this name-change to take place [...]

(See my previous article regarding this petition)

I requested to know how the FDA would consider this petition submitted by the Corn Refiner's Association, and how one might formally object.  Consumer Affairs Specialist, Ms. Jeannine Ertter-Prego, explained:

The FDA considers the basis for the request and the available scientific data that may substantiate such a request, then notifies the requestor that the agency does or does not have objections to use of the proposed term. The term should sufficiently describe the food and should be truthful and not misleading.

My argument is that changing an established name, for which all previous research regarding an ingredient is attached, is highly misleading.  To enter an objection to this sleight-of-hand, the FDA spokesperson advised:

If you follow these instructions you can post comments before the deadline.
* Submit Electronic Comments for Federal Registers
o Go to regulations.gov
o Click on "Advanced Search" (to right of "Search" button).
o Type keyword(s) or Docket ID in "Search" box.
o Select "Open for Comment/Submission" (directly under Search box).
o Select "Notices" in the "Document Type" section.
o Scroll down page To "Find Agency" and Select "FDA-FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION."
o Click "Search" button.
o Scroll down page to see results.
Click on "Submit a Comment" in the "Actions" column.

And so, if you feel as I do about name-shifting ingredients, let your opinion be known to the FDA.

Sign the petition

How To Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

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