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Corn Refiners Association

In 1844, the Wm. Colgate & Company wheat starch plant in Jersey City, N.J., became the first dedicated corn starch plant in the world. By 1857, the corn starch industry reached significant proportions in the U.S. Starch was the only product of the corn refining industry. Its largest customer was the laundry business. The next major event in the history of corn refining was the production of dextrose from corn starch in 1866. Through a series of operating committees of executives from corn refining firms, the association conducts programs of technical service, public relations, and government relations for the association membership. The association is a primary source of educational material on corn and products from corn for schools, government, journalists, agriculture, and agribusiness. The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is a trade association based in Washington, D.C. and representing the corn refining industry in the United States. Corn refining encompasses the production of corn starch, corn oil, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

 

Members of the CRA include Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Incorporated, Corn Products International, Inc./National Starch, Penford Products Co., Roquette America, Inc. and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas. The CRA launched a public relations campaign in 2008 called “Changing the Conversation about High Fructose Corn Syrup” (HFCS). Initial commercials stated that HFCS was "natural".In more recent commercials characters state HFCS is 'made from corn, has no artificial ingredients, has the same calories as sugar and is okay to eat in moderation.'The CRA received heavy criticism for calling HFCS "natural".

 

In direct response to the commercials, Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest stated: "High-fructose corn syrup starts out as cornstarch, which is chemically or enzymatically degraded to glucose and some short polymers of glucose. Another enzyme is then used to convert varying fractions of glucose into fructose...High-fructose corn syrup just doesn't exist in nature." In April 2008, an employee of the United States Food and Drug Administration declared HFCS is not "natural", stating: "The use of synthetic fixing agents in the enzyme preparation, which is then used to produce HFCS, would not be consistent with our policy regarding the use of the term 'natural'".

 

Other opponents of the commercials have complained that stating HFCS is natural is misleading, as radon gas, lead and tobacco are also natural. Therefore, even if HFCS is natural it should not be automatically assumed that it is safe to eat.

Stating HFCS contains no artificial ingredients has also been criticized, as it has been argued that such a statement implies HFCS is natural, when it actually contains synthetic and genetically modified ingredients.

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