FDA Rejects HFCS-Corn Sugar Petition

May 31, 2012
Pre-existing use of the term, allergy concerns behind the decision.

The FDA on May 30 rejected the Corn Refiners Association's 2010 petition to authorize "corn sugar" as an alternate name for high-fructose corn syrup.

"FDA's regulatory approach for the nomenclature of sugar and syrups is that sugar is a solid, dried and crystallized food; whereas syrup is an aqueous solution or liquid food," Michael Landa, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, wrote in the rejection letter.

The agency also refused to eliminate “corn sugar” as an alternative name for dextrose, which also was requested by the Corn Refiners' petition. The term is little used but has been in effect for more than 30 years and does have FDA approval.

The FDA also noted "corn sugar has been known to be an allowed ingredient for individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption. Because such individuals have associated 'corn sugar' to be an acceptable ingredient to their health when 'high fructose corn syrup' is not, changing the name for HFCS to corn sugar could put these individuals at risk and pose a public health concern.”

In the days leading up to the decision, the Sugar Association had ramped up efforts at getting the competing association’s petition denied.

"The fact remains – which FDA did not challenge – that the vast majority of American consumers are confused about HFCS,” said Audrae Erickson, CRA president. "Consumers have the right to know what is in their foods and beverages in simple, clear language that enables them to make well-informed dietary decisions."

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