Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland are among a group of U.S. food companies that have filed a lawsuit against a sugar industry trade group over what they claim are ‘unfair’ statements made about high fructose corn syrup.
In the group’s filings and request for a jury trial submitted earlier this week in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the manufacturers of HFCS products said that consumers are being misled by false claims from the sugar industry that have no scientific merit supporting any correlations between HFCS and health problems. The group claims the unfounded statements are also jeopardizing sales of HFCS products for the multinational corporations.
The suit comes after the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the FDA last year for the right to re-brand HFCS as “corn sugar,” which the agency ultimately rejected. The HFCS industry launched controversial commercials and advertisements comparing HFCS to regular sugar in attempts to win consumer support. The sugar industry sued the CRA for making false claims when attempting to call HFCS a “natural” product, despite being highly processed and containing genetically modified ingredients, which by the World Health Organization’s definition involves an inherently unnatural process. The Sugar Association’s suit claimed the CRA was infringing on the integrity of the sugar industry and jeopardizing their sales.
According to Reuters, David Knowles, a spokesperson for the Corn Refiners Association said that consumers have a right to know that HFCS and cane sugar are “nutritionally equivalent,” despite mounting scientific research that shows a distinct correlation between HFCS and certain health risks, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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