Several new plaintiffs from the sugar industry have joined a lawsuit that claims a marketing campaign for high-fructose corn syrup is false and misleading. The campaign, which refers to HFCS as “corn sugar”, has drawn the ire of a number of sugar companies and trade associations including Imperial Sugar Company, the U.S. Sugar Corp., the Sugar Association and the American Sugar Cane League, all of whom have recently been added to the lawsuit.
Specifically, the lawsuit charges that the use of “corn sugar” in advertising and promotional materials is intended to equate consumer perception of high-fructose corn syrup with that of sugar particularly at a time when a number of food and beverage manufacturers have begun replacing the ingredient with sugar.
Defendants in the case, including Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland Co., say that they stand by the message as well as the science behind it. And while the Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow manufacturers to use “corn sugar” as an alternative name for HFCS, John Sheptor, the president and CEO of Imperial Sugar Co. said the wording is deceptive.
“The attempted name change is an intentional effort to deceive consumers and, most disingenuously, it’s being done under the guise of consumer clarity,” said Sheptor. “We are taking a stand to challenge this marketing ploy for what it is.”