It seems the Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the U.S. FDA to rename high-fructose corn syrup to "corn sugar." Or, as Change.org calls it, "the artist formerly known as high-fructose corn syrup."
Don't get me wrong: I love me some corn. I've written here about my feelings on farmers and their misunderstood part of the food industry. But despite my affection for corn and the good people who grow it, come on. High-fructose corn syrup isn't good for you, and calling it corn sugar isn't going to change that.
The New York Times reported on the request yesterday, saying:
I’m not eager to help the corn refiners sell more of their stuff,” Dr. Nestle wrote in an e-mail. “But you have to feel sorry for them. High-fructose corn syrup is the new trans fat. Everyone thinks it’s poison, and food companies are getting rid of it as fast as they can.”
It seems the blogosphere feels that way, as well. In an unscientific poll, I saw the following comments:
- Can we counter with a petition to rename it "mutant chemical diabetes-causing sugar?" It's just a name, after all, and I'd like to clear up consumer confusion about the product. -- Mir Kamin of Woulda Coulda Shoula
- I like "mercury-carrying sweetener," myself.-- Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks
Blogosphere Reaction to High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Roxanna at Everyday Treats wrote:
And today, I wake up to news that the corn refiners want to relabel HFCS as "corn sugar" -- I don't think they get it. They really think we're simple-minded, don't they? People, at least some of them, are starting to finally think about their food. We're starting to demand that our food be just that, food, and not just a mishmash of cheap industrial products. And this is how they react? By relabeling their junk?
AllergyKids had this to say:
So while the corn industry may encourage us not to worry our little heads about their product, using chiseled “farmers” as spokespeople urging us that, after all, it’s just “corn sugar” (and a few other ingredients that get spun into it in a laboratory), the reality is that corn allergies, obesity and diabetes have become increasingly prevalent since its introduction twenty years ago.
Why would they bother? Because they know that we know that they know that we know. And they want us to forget. Mom-101 wrote about how honest bloggers are and how that could impact brands in 2009.
We were straightforward. We were honest. And I think we scared them a little talking about things like honesty, corporate responsibility and doing right by your consumers; and that considering how the internet works these days, transparency is going to happen with or without your participation. Essentially, you can fix problems now and address reasonable customer concerns as they come, or you can wait until the number two google search for your brand X soap is Brand X Soap Sucks and Here are 46 Reasons Why.
At one point I said: I'm putting you on notice: High fructose corn syrup is your next big problem.
It was kind of quiet at that point.
And now ... CORN SUGAR. (Do not look at the man in the corner with a gun.)
So ... the food industry is waking up to the idea that we care about what we put in our mouths. And we, the bloggers, are not afraid to say exactly what we think about that food. What to do? The answer seems to be "we'll just reformulate everything without the exact thing you're pissed about right now and remarket it." Or maybe even "we'll rename it so you love us again."
I think the part that bothers me is the insult to our intelligence. Listen, I know my beloved Diet Coke and Doritos aren't good for me. That's why I don't exist solely on those foods. But let's call a spade a spade -- or a fattening processed food additive "high-fructose corn syrup."
Do you have a better new name for high-fructose corn syrup? Leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below!
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