Corn Refiners Counter Sue Sugar Association For Deceiving Consumers About High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sept. 6, 2012

Several of the nation's leading corn refiners counter-sued The Sugar Association for deceiving consumers into believing that processed sugar is safer and more healthful than high fructose corn syrup, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the two forms of sugar are nutritionally equivalent. (The filed counterclaims are available here.)

The Sugar Association has made numerous "false and misleading representations that processed sugar is different from high fructose corn syrup in ways that are beneficial to consumers' health," the counterclaim states. "The Sugar Association preys on consumers' fears," by falsely representing that high fructose corn syrup causes a number of health issues, including obesity, "while at the same time creating a health halo for processed sugar."

The counterclaim also states that: "...vilifying one kind of added sugar will not reduce Americans' waistlines. Reducing all added sugars, and reducing caloric intake in general, will...The Sugar Association has worked to perpetuate the myth that high fructose corn syrup uniquely contributes to obesity and other health problems, preying on consumers' food fears and diverting attention away from the real issue--that Americans should reduce their consumption of all added sugars and calories in general."

The counterclaim cites several leading medical and scientific experts, as well as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), which has concluded: "High fructose corn nutritionally equivalent to sucrose [table sugar]. Once absorbed into the blood stream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable."

The counterclaim is part of the corn refining industry's response to an April 2011 lawsuit brought by The Sugar Association and processed sugar manufacturers that is intended to prevent the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) from educating consumers on the widely accepted fact that high fructose corn syrup and table sugar are nutritionally equivalent. In previous statements, CRA has characterized The Sugar Association's lawsuit as part of a "silencing campaign" and has said the group is "trying to censor our efforts to communicate the simplest and most meaningful fact about high fructose corn syrup: It's a form of sugar, and consumers should reduce their intake of all added sugars." The counterclaim states that The Sugar Association is hoping its false statements "cause food and beverage manufacturers to replace high fructose corn syrup with processed sugar...."

The counterclaim was filed by CRA members Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Cargill, Inc., Ingredion Inc. (formerly named Corn Products International, Inc.), and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc.

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is the national trade association representing the corn refining (wet milling) industry of the United States. Vist CRA online at