The FDA ruled that products containing high fructose corn syrup can't be labeled as "natural." This may not sound like a big deal to us, but this is a huge ruling in the food and beverage industry. I've warned you about the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the past, but it still seems to be everywhere. We can't swing a dead cat in a grocery store (not that we are likely to do such a thing) without hitting dozens of products chock-full of HFCS.
How bad is it? American children are eating and drinking 62 pounds of this one sweetener every year. There's loads of HFCS in everything kids (and many adults) eat and drink such as soda, "fruit" drinks, cookies, gum, jelly, and baked goods. In fact, the national consumption of this hidden junk food grew from zero in 1966 to sixty-three pounds per person by 2001. But the controversy isn't whether or not HFCS is healthy or whether or not it's natural. The Corn Refiners Association insists that it's a natural sweetener because it's derived from a natural product, but the FDA doesn't buy it.
This new ruling that put the whammy on HFCS was in response to an inquiry by an online consumer watchdog site. The FDA checked the composition of HFCS and discovered that synthetic fixing agents are used in the manufacturing process. And this violates the FDA's standard policy on the term "natural" which states that a natural product "is one that has not had any artificial or synthetic substances added to the product that would not normally be expected to be in the food." We will probably be healthier for it if we just put whatever it is back on the shelf the next time we see HFCS or sugar near the top of the ingredient list when we are checking labels at the grocery store.
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