The corn refining industry is seeking to make one of the most common ingredients in American food sound a little more palatable to health-conscious consumers and food companies.
The Corn Refiners Associations filed a petition on Tuesday with the Food and Drug Administration to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to "corn sugar", The Wall Street Journal reported.
The petition is the latest step from the corn industry to erase the notion among some consumers that high fructose corn syrup isn't as natural as sugar.
"We hope to erase consumer confusion," Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, said.
Consumption of corn-derived sweeteners has plunged 20% in the last ten years, compared with just 3% for refined sugar. Overall, consumption of sweeteners fell 12% as consumers shunned soda and sweet food.
Companies including Starbucks Corp. and Kraft have both dropped high fructose corn syrup from some products. Kraft has yanked the sweetener from products such as Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce and Wheat Thins Crackers.
"We know there are some consumers who look for products that don't have HFCS, which is why we've made the change," Kraft spokeswoman Bridget A. MacConnell told The Wall Street Journal.
It's not clear how the FDA will treat the petition. It has allowed prune marketers to refer to their product as a dried plum, and the makers of rapeseed oil to market as canola oil.
Any name change for high fructose corn syrup will face opposition from the sugar lobby such as the Sugar Association.
"Consumers know, and the FDA's definition accurately reflects, that sugar only comes from sugar cane and sugar beets," the Sugar Association said.