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Renewing the High Fructose Corn Syrup Debate

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:37pm

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 withHFCSduring 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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