Friday, July 2, 2010


The growth of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) industry has been phenomenal during the last 2 decades and it is an ingredient that is found in almost all sweet products including beverages offered by the food industry. However its supposed link to health disorders like obesity and heart disease, though not based on definitive scientific findings, saw its fortunes sliding down with its use declining by dramatically, its place being taken by sugar from beets and cane.

"Tate & Lyle, along with Archer Daniels Midland Co., are two of the major players in making the corn syrup, which is found in most soft drinks, cereals and other products. Cargill Inc. and Corn Products International are others who find themselves working to keep sales from slipping. Use of high-fructose corn syrup dropped 11 percent between 2003 and 2008, while sugar refining increased 7 percent. Several companies stopped using corn syrup in some or all products, including Hunt's ketchup, Snapple, Gatorade and Starbucks' baked goods. First lady Michelle Obama has said before that she will not give her children products made with the corn syrup. Olsen said a single ingredient cannot be blamed for obesity problems, and high-fructose corn syrup has become a poster child for concerns about the issue. Eating in moderation is the key, he said".

It is but natural that a country like the US which is a major user of sugar opted for HFCS as it produces large quantities of corn and more than 25% of sugar requirement is met by imports. User industry has no choice under the present circumstances but to switch over to sugar in spite of cost disadvantage, as they have to worry about increasing consumer discomfort with HFCS. The economic and health factors complicate any meaningful decision that can be taken on continued large scale use of HFCS. Probably it may be in the interest of the corn syrup industry to strive for unbiased scientific study that can lay to rest the persistent doubts about the safety of HFCS.


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