Widespread efforts by the American corn industry to rebrand the controversial sweetener high fructose corn syrup as “corn sugar” has led outraged sugar farmers to file a lawsuit.
The farmers’ suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles last week by Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Company and C & H Sugar Company, Inc., alleges that the defendants are trying to revive slumping HFCS sales through likening their processed corn syrup with real sugar, a claim the sugar farmers say is purely false advertising. The complaint states that the “Defendants’ resort to such literally false and misleading statements harms consumers, harms the makers of real sugar and harms any dialogue based on the truth. This lawsuit seeks to put an end to the deception.”
The defendants, which include Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill, Inc., Corn Products International, Inc., Penford Products Co., Roquette America, Inc., Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc. and the companies’ marketing and lobbying organization, The Corn Refiners Association, Inc., are being asked to pull their misleading ad campaigns.
The complaint suggests that American consumers have been steadily decreasing their consumption of foods and beverages that contain HFCS, which has been linked to increases in cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Many product manufacturers have begun to replace HFCS with real sugar, which has led to the declining sales and the comprehensive rebrand.
Inder Mathur, President and CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative says that “If consumers are concerned about your product, then you should improve it or explain its benefits, not try to deceive people about its name or distort scientific facts.”
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