Sugar is sugar, so the Corn Refiners Association would just like to call theirs “corn sugar” instead of “high fructose corn syrup.”  

The association has formally asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow it to use the term “corn sugar” as an alternative to high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS.   FDA could take up to two years to decide on the request.

Americans today use about 21 percent less corn sugar today than they did 10 years ago.  Today’s yearly total is almost 36 pounds.   Americans use about 44 pounds of sugar from cane and beets, and that figure hasn’t changed much recently.

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) says their product has suffered from bad publicity in recent years, causing food and beverage manufacturers to switch out the fructose for sucrose–beet or cane sugar.

Because HFCS is simply a sugar made from corn, the Corn Refiners Association says it should have a simple name: corn sugar.

The trade association for the corn refining industry says HFCS is not high in fructose, but in fact contains proportions of fructose and glucose that are similar to sucrose.

Name changes are not unusual in the food business.   Canola oil was once known as low eurcic acid rapeseed oil, lowly prunes became “dried plums,” and recently aspartame became ‘AminoSweet.”

CRA says the name change request is “about consumer clarity” on ingredient labels.  Corn sugar would be easily understood, the group argues.

HFCS is “nutritionally equivalent to sucrose,” in that it is metabolized by the body in the same ways as sucrose, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Yet because high fructose corn syrup is in so many products, such as soft drinks, that are associated with the national obesity crisis, the name change is likely to come in for its share of criticism.

Five manufacturers make corn sugar in the U.S.  They are: Archer Daniels Midland Inc., Corn Products International, Cargill, Roquette America, and Tate & Lyle.