Courtesy of Linda Bonvie
FoodIdentityTheft Blogger and CFH Contributor
April 18, 2013
If you’ve been reading my blogs here at Food Identity Theft, you’ve no doubt heard about HFCS 90, a ‘super-high’ high fructose corn syrup formulation which, according to a leading manufacturer of this laboratory-created sweetener, Archer Daniels Midland, is the “ideal choice for reduced calorie foods such as beverages, jellies and dressings.”
My previous research indicated that both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) know about HFCS 90 and its food uses. Numerous studies, patents (including a method for using HFCS 90 to produce a reduced-calorie beverage that was assigned to PepsiCo) and journal articles refer to it and all the different foods that can be sweetened with it.
Of course, the position of the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has been that the fructose content of HFCS is “virtually the same” as real sugar — saying on its web site that the sweetener “is actually NOT high in fructose.”
But now, the CRA itself has come out and admitted that HFCS containing such mega doses of fructose has been in use “with FDA knowledge for decades.”
Given that the fructose content of HFCS is a topic the CRA would prefer not to discuss, it’s unlikely the organization would ever have made such an acknowledgment if not for a petition filed with the FDA this past September by Citizens For Health. The petition requests that the agency take action against food and beverage manufacturers using HFCS with fructose levels above 55 percent (the highest amount the FDA allows) and in the interim, require that actual percentage of fructose it contains be specified on the label.
In responding to that petition, J. Patrick Mohan, interim president of the Corn Refiners Association, not only states that HFCS 90 has been used for “decades,” but also claims the “FDA acknowledged this in 1996 when it issued the HFCS GRAS (generally recognized as safe) affirmation regulation.” What Mr. Mohan neglects to mention, however, is in what context the FDA “acknowledged” HFCS 90 use.
In fact, what the agency said was, “This product contains a substantially different ratio of glucose to fructose than…HFCS-55. The HFCS-90 is not included in this rulemaking because the agency does not have adequate information to assess the safety of residual levels of the processing materials in the final product.” The FDA also noted that “additional data on the effects of fructose consumption that is not balanced with glucose consumption would be needed to ensure that this product is safe.”
Seeking further clarification, I asked the agency last year about HFCS 90, and was informed in an email from a spokesperson that HFCS 90 is a “nonstandardized food” and is “not high fructose corn syrup.”
‘Limited’ to what, exactly?
Mohan’s response also makes mention of “fluctuations in fructose levels above 42 or 55 %” in HFCS, which he apparently believes “would be expressly permitted” by regulatory officials.
Those so-called “fluctuations” were ‘discovered’ in 2010 by Dr. Michael Goran, director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center (CORC) and professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. Dr. Goren, who regards higher fructose intake as a risk factor in health problems such as diabetes (as do other experts), analyzed samples of Coke, Pepsi and Sprite, and found that fructose levels in the HFCS used in these popular beverages went as high as 65 percent.
“The only information we have,” Goran told me in an interview, “is that industry says sodas and beverages are made with HFCS 55, which suggests that 55 percent of the sugar is fructose. That’s an assumption that everybody makes,” he said. “So we decided we wanted to actually verify, measure the fructose content so we could get a better handle on how much fructose people were actually consuming every time they open a can of soda.”
In fact, consumers have been given the impression that HFCS is even lower in fructose than that. In a TV ad blitz sponsored by the CRA, they were told that HFCS and sugar are basically the same, having “virtually” equal amounts of fructose and glucose. (Natural sugar, or sucrose, contains a fixed amount of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose). One commercial – although it wasn’t produced by the CRA, but another group called “SweetScam.com” – even depicts HFCS as a psychiatric patient complaining to Dr. Ruth about having a name like “high fructose corn syrup” that was really “stupid…as I’m actually low in fructose” and being advised to change it to “corn sugar” (a recommendation that was flatly rejected by the FDA).
But Mohan, must have missed all those commercials, judging from his letter to the FDA, which also states that “…there is no evidence that consumers have been ‘told’” about the fructose content of HFCS, and that “(I)nformation of that specificity simply does not appear on product labels or in the advertising or marketing of HFCS-containing, end-user products.” And while his letter claims that HFCS 90 uses are “minor” and that the “FDA has been aware of these limited uses for decades,” he provides no hints as to which food products may actually contain it or any idea of what “minor” and “limited” actually mean in this context.
All of this leaves us with a question: how do we know the precise fructose content of food products containing HFCS? Is it 42 percent, 55 percent, 65 percent, 90 percent,or somewhere in between? And what, exactly, are those supposedly “limited” and “minor” items that the CRA now admits have contained the 90 percent fructose version of HFCS for all these years?
These are things every American consumer should have a right to know. And by signing and supporting this Citizens for Health Petition to have HFCS fructose amount labeled, you’ll be making a statement that secrecy is impermissible when it comes to what we’re ingesting – and how much.
We have a right to know what’ s in our food!
Keep up the good work! And thank-you for your dedication, we do have the right to know, and we need to understand what this is doing to our bodies and health. I’m glad to be part of the solution, and not the problem.
The consumer has the right to know and I demand
That products containing HFCS-90 be labeled as such!
Labels must tell the truth no longer lying to consumers!
All food containing fructose must be labeled with the amount it contains.
While I think it is great that you seek the truth and reveal it to people about what is wrong with high-fructose corn syrup, I rather disagree with the mention of the psychiatric patient. While high-fructose corn syrup should be labeled and not just called by the euphemism “corn sugar”, I think psychiatric labeling in our society is much too high. I’ve read that some people who visit one psychiatrist may get one label and when they visit other psychiatrists, they often get new labels. Plus, psychiatry is pathologizing children who act like children with the “Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” label, among other examples of dubious labels of psychiatry. I would say we should label our foods but not people!
“The HFCS-90 is not included in this rulemaking because the agency does not have adequate information to assess the safety of residual levels of the processing materials in the final product.”
“Processing materials” like fungal enzymes, maybe?
Check out what effect mycotoxins have on our health…or lack of it!
It makes me very sad that “The Dollar” is worth so much more than our health. Judy
We all thank you for the efforts you make on behalf of all Americans and others worldwide in continuing to investigate and uncover the nefarious doings of some of those who provide the ‘food’ we live on (or die on)… as well as the regulators who look the other way when advising us that poison is safe, and doctors who do not shout from the rooftops that we are being used as guinea pigs in an uncontrolled and very hazardous ongoing experiment.
I, for one, feel it is IMPERATIVE to make the connection in every single press release, article, and other statement that you put out that these manufacturers, advertisers, regulators, physicians, and others should be LEGALLY AND MORALLY held responsible for the immense damage they cause to the American people. These people ARE in no small way responsible for ruined personal lives, broken families, devasted communities and on and on due to crushing health care costs; the explosion of diabetes; bullying; depression; all kinds of chronic illnesses; massive increase in ADHD and other behavioral disorders; children unable to pay attention in school; use of critical arable land for producing the poisons in the first place instead of healthy foodstuffs; and billions upon billions of dollars lost in productivity due to the ruined health of millions of American citizens.
Let us add the costs to our society of all these conditions which are in no small part due to the choices the above individuals and groups make who foist these poisons upon us or do nothing to protect us from them; let us add up these costs and MAKE THEM PAY. NO AMERICAN should be ignorant of the degree to which the actions or non-actions of these people have damaged our country and the lives of so many. In all the pleas one hears for funds for this or that: cancer research, obesity research, programs that struggle to deal with all the problems these people help create, there is NEVER blame placed squarely where it belongs: on the producers of this garbage, the regulators who turn a blind eye, and the physicians who absolutely should be raising HELL at what they see in their patients by the millions.
Get these poisons out of our food and drink. At least label them so we can choose not to consume them.
Your work is invaluable and very much appreciated by those of us who attempt to keep track of healthy and unhealthy consumption. HOWEVER, if you want to impact the masses, there must be far less verbiage. Shorter articles and explanations would have a higher certainty of being read.
Too bad we don’t curb our love of sweets, as well.