Breaking the Law With High Fructose Corn Syrup

The Public Health Advocacy Institute has dropped a wet blanket over the high fructose corn syrup lobby. The lobby has claimed sugar is always sugar, no matter what, based on measured levels of fructose. To prove their point using propaganda they have started to pressure the government to allow corn syrup to be hidden with the label corn sugar.

While they play games with the names, actual fructose measurements are in and it does not look good for high fructose corn syrup. It turns out that it has…high fructose.

A report on October 27th from the PHAI is thus titled: Discovery of Elevated Fructose Levels in Popular Soft Drinks Raises Important Legal Questions for Regulators and Consumers

Laboratory testing revealed that bottled full-calorie Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Sprite had fructose estimates of 64-65%, well in excess of the upper-level of 55% fructose generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration

These levels not only put them in excess of safe levels, defined by others, but also at odds with their own claims to safety.

…the representation that HFCS is “compositionally equivalent” to table sugar could amount to false and misleading advertising requiring action by the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorneys General.

Fructose was isolated and extracted from corn in America during 1970s after President Nixon’s economic advisers demanded that payments for corn surplus should be put to some kind of use. Leaders of the country at that time balked at the idea of paying farmers to grow something and then do nothing with it, so they set about to manufacture demand. The very recent origin of high fructose corn syrup was thus driven by an artificial (US Patent 3,689,362 by Yoshiyuki Takasaki in 1972) urgency related to farm politics, as I have discussed before.

I could also point out the political importance of high fructose corn syrup comes from an even older issue of national concern. The reason corn syrup has been made cheaper to use in processed foods than sugar is due to import quotas that restrict America’s supply of sugar.

Before artificial corn sweeteners were made in America the US Marines were called into action to invade the state of Hawaii in 1894 and overthrow the Queen. This was to ensure access to sugar. American plantation owners feared they would lose their land to the Queen if she maintained power. They formed a “Committee of Safety to overthrow the Kingdom” and found a sympathetic ear in the US Secretary of State, James Blaine. He had suggested in 1881 that the US would be better off invading Cuba, another rich source of sugar, than to let it sit in the hands of a European power.

The sugar of Hawaii is not enough to meet demand today. This makes me wonder if Blaine had realized the safety risk present today from high fructose corn syrup in America, would he have pressed even more to annex Cuba? Alas, Cuba became independent and America continues to try and find ways to dispose of its corn surplus.

3 thoughts on “Breaking the Law With High Fructose Corn Syrup”

  1. IF YOU READ THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) FROM JULY 2 1910 – YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT – NINTEEN TEN – YOU WILL SEE THAT 100 YEARS AGO THERE WAS A GREAT CONTROVERSY ABOUT THE PURE FOOD LAW IN WISCONSIN THAT DID NOT ALLOW FRAUDULENT LABELING OF CORN SYRUP AND THE STUFF WAS OUTLAWED IN THAT STATE BACK THEN. SO THIS IS NOT A NEW SUBJECT. REPRINTED VERBATIM IN JAMA JULY 7, 2010 VOLUME 304, NO. 1

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