At the end of November the billion dollar sweetener war came to an end. Sugar processers and the makers of high fructose corn syrup announced a secret out of court agreement. When the announcement came, they were in the middle of a court battle over is sugar, sugar, or is HFCS different than sugar. Apparently, not.
Sugar processors had sought $1.5billion in a false advertising claim against corn refiners and agribusinesses giants Archer Daniels Midland and Cargil and others after they tried to rebrand their product – HFCS – as simply corn sugar. Their efforts were rejected by the FDA in 2012 when they found that sugar was solid, and HFCS was, well, syrup.
But are they similar? Sugar is sucrose, which is half fructose and half glucose. HFCS is typically 555 fructose and 45% glucose.
The corn people countersued for $530 million, saying they suffered because the sugar industry made false and misleading claims that included a comment that HFCS was as addictive as crack cocaine with junk science associating HFCS with diabetes and obesity.
This has been going on for four years.
But the joint statement during the trial seemed to heal all wounds, and attorneys on both sides refused to comment. Neither, it seemed wanted this to go to a jury.
A jury finding, either way, could have provided a model for lawyers looking to take on foods with genetically modified or non-organic ingredients