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Leading national consumer groups urge FDA to promptly deny industry petition to call high fructose corn syrup 'corn sugar'

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April 17, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington, DC - In a letter sent to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today, the National Consumers League, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, and Shape Up America!, called on the agency to “promptly deny” the Corn Refiners Association’s (CRA) petition to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

The groups told the FDA that nearly 5,000 comments submitted to the agency oppose the name change on a ratio of 100:1. The consumer organizations’ letter also states that FDA’s failure to promptly deny the CRA petition allows the trade association to continue to run deceptive marketing campaigns calling HFCS “corn sugar,” and confuses consumers who wish to avoid the ingredient.

“The FDA has a statutory responsibility to ensure that consumers have the opportunity to exercise free choice in the marketplace without being misled by confusing name changes designed to hide the identity of a controversial ingredient,” stated Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League.

The FDA warned the CRA last year not to encourage its members to use the term “corn sugar” to refer to HFCS while the Association’s petition is pending, but did not formally deny the petition.

“The FDA’s warning letter to the CRA is a step in the right direction, but the term ‘corn sugar’ continues to appear in national advertising within the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FDA should ensure that it and the FTC can stop such deceptive advertising by formally denying the CRA petition,” stated Urvashi Rangan, Director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumers Union.

“Given the thousands of comments opposing the CRA petition and the continued misleading use of the term ‘corn sugar’ in marketing, FDA should act decisively and deny the CRA petition,” stated Chris Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America.

“Honest food labeling and advertising is essential for Americans to improve their diets and reduce their risk of diet-related disease.  FDA and FTC should devote the necessary resources to ensure that consumers are provided with clear information” added Barbara Moore, President and CEO of Shape Up America!

To read the full letter, please click here.

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.