High-fructose corn syrup could get a new, less maligned name

High fructose corn syrup wants new name
High fructose corn syrup wants new name

High-fructose corn syrup has gotten such a bad name that the Corn Refiners Association, in a bid to repair its image, has asked the federal government to allow it to drop the label and replace it with "corn sugar."

In a petition to the FDA, the lobbying arm of the syrup-making industry argues that the current name is confusing consumers, citing a study by market research firm NPD Group. The study, which looks at food safety concerns and eating intentions in the U.S., shows nearly 60% of Americans believe corn syrup poses a health risk.

The maligned product -- present in everything from soda to cereals to salad dressings, to even cough syrup -- has been widely blamed in recent years for the national spike in obesity, pancreatic cancer, and diabetes. Its tarnished reputation, coupled with a scramble by packaged food companies to slap "natural" claims on their products, has left HFCS manufacturers scratching their heads on how to up sales.

"No one should disagree with helping consumers understand where their food comes from," Audrae Erickson, president of the CRA, told Consumer Ally. "Right now Americans are confused about the name because they think it's high in fructose, which it isn't."