The Corn Refiners Association recently petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to allow the use of the phrase â€œcorn sugarâ€ in place of â€œhigh fructose corn syrupâ€, according to PRNewswire.com. The name change would take effect within one to two years, affecting common products such as cereal, soda and candy.
Though scientific research on the effects of long-term HFCS consumption have been inconclusive, Americans are still largely against the sweetener, according to an NPD Group study cited by The New York Times. This study states that 58 percent of Americans are concerned about the potential health risks associated with HFCS.
The name change is meant to make it obvious to the public that HFCS is a natural product derived from corn, CRA President Audrae Erickson said.
“Consumers need to know what is in their foods and where their foods come from,â€ Erickson said.
Erickson said that a name change was most succinct and accurate way to do so.
However, Tanya Samra, an environmental engineering major, was not swayed by HFCS’s new name.
“I’ve heard nothing good about high fructose corn syrup,â€ Samra said.
Samra noted that the name change was deceptive and does nothing to change the fact that HFCS is linked to adverse health risks such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Samra said to keep the stuff out of your diet, whether or not it’s called â€œcorn sugar.â€
â€œIt’s the same ingredient…the name change just makes it harder for people to catch on,â€ Samra said.
The name change is meaningless to Janet Gutierrez, a criminal justice major.
Gutierrez related this case to Â a similar recent renaming of cigarette products; for example, ‘light’ cigarettes are now ‘gold’ or ‘blue’.
“They can always change the name,â€ Guitierrez said. “But in the end, (the product) is still the same exact thing.”
Gutierrez rejected the notion that it would make a difference due to the fact that the product is, and will always be, sugar.
The move could prove to be a wise marketing decision for the CRA, said Emily Erickson, a communications professor.
“High fructose corn syrup doesn’t sound like something grandma cooked with,” Erickson said. “Whereas corn sugar sounds organic and healthy.â€
It’s a smart public relations move, Erickson said, noting its similarities to Kentucky Fried Chicken’s decision to change its name to KFC, which helped the chain disassociate itself from the unhealthy sounding â€œfriedâ€ moniker.
The CRA’s own website, Cornsugar.com, aims to further dispel negative perceptions about HFCS. Â It features subsections with quotes from expert sources stating that HFCS and table sugar are fundamentally the same in many key areas. Those areas include caloric value and health effects.
“[HFCS] is sugar. Itâ€™s just sugar,â€ a CBS evening newscast said.