"Would high-fructose corn syrup, by any other name, have sweeter appeal? The Corn Refiners Association, which represents firms that make the syrup, has been trying to improve the image of the much maligned sweetener with ad campaigns promoting it as a natural ingredient made from corn. Now, the group has petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to start calling the ingredient "corn sugar," arguing that a name change is the only way to clear up consumer confusion about the product. "Clearly the name is confusing consumers," said Audrae Erickson, president of the Washington-based group, in an interview. "Research shows that 'corn sugar' better communicates the amount of calories, the level of fructose and the sweetness in this ingredient." According to the market research firm NPD Group, about 58 percent of Americans say they are concerned that high-fructose corn syrup poses a health risk. Some scientists over the years have speculated that high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to obesity by somehow disrupting normal metabolic function,but the research has been inconclusive. As a result, most leading scientists and nutrition experts agree that in terms of health, the effect of high-fructose corn syrup is the same as regular sugar, and that too much of either ingredient is bad for your health. Marion Nestle, a professor in New York University's department of nutrition and a longtime food industry critic, says that Americans consume too much of all types of sugar, but that there is no meaningful biochemical difference between table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. "I'm not eager to help the corn refiners sell more of their stuff," Dr. Nestle wrote in an e-mail. "But you have to feel sorry for them. High-fructose corn syrup is the new trans fat. Everyone thinks it's poison, and food companies are getting rid of it as fast as they can." Dr. Nestle says she thinks the plural "corn sugars" is a better description of high-fructose corn syrup, which is actually a mixture of glucose and fructose. But she agrees that the corn refiners "have lots of reasons to want the change." "Even I have to admit that it's not an unreasonable one," Dr. Nestle said. High-fructose corn syrup, which came into widespread use in the 1970s, isn't particularly high in fructose, but was so named to distinguish it from ordinary, glucose-containing corn syrup, according to a report in TheAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition. High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose (also known as table sugar) contain about the same amount of glucose and fructose. In fact, one commonly used version of the ingredient known as HFCS-42 actually contains less fructose (42 percent) than table sugar, which has 50 percent fructose, according to the report".
There is a precedent in history when change in name was sought to correct consumer perception and Canola is the most visible example. Low erucic acid Rapeseed oil developed in Canada was renamed as Canola for better consumer appreciation though the name by itself does not convey any relation to rapeseed or erucic acid. Similarly Prunes were renamed as dried Plums though the reason is not clear. Probably HFCS may be more vulnerable to criticism if environmental degradation, corn cultivation has brought about during the last 5 decades, is taken into reckoning and will the industry seek to rename it again to avoid mention of corn? Why not better call it a "cereal sweetener"?V.H.POTTY