The high-stakes, high-profile battle between Big Sugar and Big Corn ended on Friday, when a settlement was reached out of court, the details of which remain secret at this time.
The trial, which has been delayed for various reasons over the past four years, finally made it to court in Los Angeles nearly three weeks ago. Sugar processors and corn refiners were each suing the other in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit.
The following statement was jointly released to the Los Angeles Times with regards to the decision to settle out of court:
“The parties jointly announce today that they have reached a settlement of a lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The details of the settlement agreement are confidential. The Parties continue their commitments to practices that encourage safe and healthful use of their products, including moderation in the consumption of table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners.”
Sugar processors had sued corn refiners for $1.5 billion, citing false advertising when they attempted to rebrand high-fructose corn syrup as “corn sugar” in order to distance themselves from the dangers associated with the product in the news media. The FDA decided not to allow this name change in 2012, as cane sugar was already using this name for a granulated product, and a syrup could not use the same moniker.
Meanwhile, corn refiners countersued for $530 million based on statements that allegedly defamed corn syrup, including linking it to diseases such as diabetes as well as a comment that it was as addictive as crack cocaine.
Defamatory comments have been made of both high-fructose corn syrup and cane sugar, each being more closely attributed to weight problems, diabetes and health problems depending on media trends. It seems that instead of cannibalizing the industry, Big Sugar and Big Corn have agreed what the health industry has long known—neither HFCS nor cane sugar is good for us, and moderation is key for consumption.
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Corn syrup image via Shutterstock