April 29, 2011
DENVERA group of sugar farmers and refiners filed a lawsuit alleging the corn sugar campaign launched by corn processors constitutes false advertising under federal and state law.
Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Company and C & H Sugar Company, Inc., filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Defendants include The Corn Refiners Association, Inc., and several of its member companies, including ADM, Cargill, Inc., Corn Products International, Inc., Penford Products Co., Roquette America, Inc., Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc.
The sugar producers are seeking an injunction to end the corn-refining industrys marketing of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as corn sugar."
"This suit is about false advertising, pure and simple," said Inder Mathur, President and CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative. "If consumers are concerned about your product, then you should improve it or explain its benefits, not try to deceive people about its name or distort scientific facts."
The corn refining industry has petitioned FDA for approval to substitute "corn sugar" for "high-fructose corn syrup" on ingredient labels, but the sugar industry notes in its lawsuit that the corn processors moved forward with the corn sugar" branding before getting FDA approval.
Audrae Erickson, president, Corn Refiners Association, released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
Sugar is sugar. High fructose corn syrup and sugar are nutritionally and metabolically equivalent; experts have supported this claim, including the American Dietetic Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The name corn sugar more accurately describes this sweetener and helps clarify food products labeling for manufacturers and consumers alike. The Corn Refiners Association petitioned the Food & Drug Administration in September 2010 to more succinctly and accurately describe what this natural ingredient is and where it comes fromcorn.
Many manufacturers depend on high fructose corn syrup as a versatile ingredient that adds taste, texture, freshness, and sweetness to food and beverages. It is disappointing that another sweetener would sue the competition for its own gain.
Simply, this lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend our right to petition the FDA to clear up consumer confusion about the name.
We stand by the message in our ads and the science behind it."
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