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Tester to FDA: High fructose corn syrup isn’t “sugar”

Senator says proposed name change is designed to confuse consumers

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is sending the Food and Drug Administration a clear message: high fructose corn syrup isn’t sugar – and don’t try to pretend that it is.

High fructose corn syrup is chemically processed corn starch used to sweeten beverages and foods like soft drinks and cereals.  The Corn Refiners Association is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to change the syrup’s name to corn sugar.

Tester, the Senate’s only active farmer, said that consumers have come to understand the differences between high fructose corn syrup, whose name was established by the agency years ago, and sugar that comes from sugar beets or sugar cane.

In a recent bipartisan letter to Food and Drug Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Tester argued that changing the name would deny consumers their right to make knowledgeable choices about what ingredients they put in their bodies.

“We are concerned that if FDA were to allow companies to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to ‘corn sugar’ on food labels, it would confuse customers and mislead them,” Tester and his colleagues wrote.  “We urge you to follow your science-based process for consumer protection so that consumers are able to readily identify food ingredients.”

Tester added that the proposed change could negatively impact Montana farmers and sugar beet refinery workers.  With nearly 45,000 acres of sugar beets grown in Montana, Tester says he believes it’s critical for Montana’s economy and jobs to prevent the corn industry from confusing corn syrup with sugar.

Some nutrition experts also say that foods and beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup contribute to a growth in childhood obesity.

Tester is joined in opposition to the Corn Refiners Association’s petition by the U.S. Beet Sugar Association, the National Consumers League, the Consumer Federation of America, the Consumers Union and Citizens for Health.

“Montana’s consumers deserve the whole truth when they go to the store and look at what’s in the food they’re buying,” Tester said.  “I expect swift action to deny this petition.”

Tester’s letter to Food and Drug Commissioner Hamburg is available here.

Federal Judge Rules Against Corn Processors

Contact: Gene Grabowski
(202) 270-6560
Email: ggrabowski@levick.com

 Consumer Deception at Issue in False Advertising Case

LOS ANGELES — (October 22, 2011) – A federal judge has ruled that the case brought by American sugar farmers against big corn processors to stop their false advertising about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) must go forward.

According to U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall, who issued two opinions comprising her ruling on Friday, “Plaintiffs have met their burden in showing a reasonable probability of success on their argument that the statements are false.” The judge also ruled that the challenged statements in Corn Refiners Association’s multi-million dollar campaign “constitute ‘commercial speech.’”

Judge Marshall made these rulings, in part, based on documents the CRA and its members had previously submitted to the Mexican government involving a regulatory issue in that country. “There is evidence in the record indicating that Defendants have themselves made statements about the different chemical make-up between table sugar and HFCS,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiffs have also submitted studies and papers that support its allegation that CRA’s claim that HFCS is sugar and/or natural is false and/or misleading.”

According to the lawsuit, consumers have increasingly sought to avoid products containing HFCS because of a wide range of health concerns. The lawsuit claims that the CRA has engaged in false advertising about these concerns. As part of this effort the CRA has advertised that HFCS is “corn sugar,” equated it with real sugar and called it natural – none of which is true.

While the corn processors have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to substitute “corn sugar” for “high-fructose corn syrup” on ingredient labels, the sugar-producing plaintiffs assert that the defendants did not even wait for the FDA’s response – which is still pending – before beginning their “corn sugar” re-branding efforts.

“We are gratified by Judge Marshall’s ruling and we look forward to a final resolution of our case so that the Corn Refiners Association is forced to end its deceptive campaign aimed at misleading American consumers,” said Adam Fox of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, who argued the case before the court.

For a copy of the Court’s rulings filed Friday, Oct. 21, or the original lawsuit, contact Justin Wilson at jwilson@levick.com.

Millions of American Consumers are Food Identity Theft Victims

 Food Packaging Deceptions Threaten National Food Integrity

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Primary Media Contact:
Kevin Sanchez                                                          
Hollenbeck Associates                                              
(415) 227-1150 ext. 10                                                   
kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Even as more American families are trying to make healthier diet choices, many duplicitous food makers are contributing to the spread of Food Identity Theft.  Despite government safeguards and restrictions, dozens of food producers are misleading consumers with deceptive packaging or attempting to conceal questionable ingredients on labels.

While some of the deceptions are subtle, others are much more serious. Some make claims that are simply untrue, while others are in direct violation of Food & Drug Administration policies. Food Identity Theft issues include:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup trying to change its name to “corn sugar” in order to conceal itself from consumers;
  • “Blueberry” muffin mixes, breakfast cereals and pastry products that have absolutely no blueberries in them;
  • Spaghetti sauces “Made from California Vine-ripened Tomatoes” that are made using industrial tomato concentrate (tomato paste and water).

“These companies are knowingly trying to pull a con on American families,” said Jim Turner, who chairs the non-profit consumer protection group, Citizens for Health. “We have the right to know what’s in the products we’re buying, and that means clear, accurate, and truthful package labeling.”

Citizens for Health has launched a new website, www.FoodIdentityTheft.com, to alert consumers about these deceptive practices. With important information, links to the latest news stories, videos, and regulatory updates, site visitors will be aware of the most flagrant Food Identity Theft culprits.

Numerous consumer action groups, including the National Consumer League, the Consumer Federation of America, and the Center for Food Safety, have all publicly denounced Food Identity Theft deceptions.  Many businesses, including Whole Foods Markets, Jason’s Deli and Stonyfield Farm, actively support truth in food labeling practices.

“Americans who want to eat healthier need to know that companies like Betty Crocker, Smucker’s, Kellogg’s, Contadina and General Mills, and trade groups like the Corn Refiners Association, are attempting to mislead them on food package labels,” said Linda Bonvie, Senior Editor at FoodIdentityTheft.com.

About Citizens for Health

Funded by concerned consumers, non-profit partners, food growers, and businesses, Citizens for Health is a non-profit organization that provides over 100,000 supporters with consumer news, action alerts, and ways to demand access to healthy food, non-toxic products, and truthful, non-misleading health information.  More information is available at www.citizens.org.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at 415-227-1150 ext 110 or kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com.

 

CFH Posts Its Comments to the FDA re the Corn Sugar Sham

By now you are all familiar with the all-out campaign by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) to change the name of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to “corn sugar.”

In March we alerted you to their petition to the FDA, which they claim is in the interest of “consumer clarity.”

This week CFH submitted its official comments to the FDA, and you can read the letter here.

We will repeat a question here we’ve asked many times over: How can changing the name of a product consumers have become familiar with over nearly three decades actually lead to greater clarity?

Quite simply, it won’t.

It is a misguided effort by the corn refining industry leadership to hide an ingredient (HCFS) that grows more unpopular by the day.

Sales of HFCS are down 11% and an ever-increasing number of manufacturers, markets, and schools are rushing to eliminate the man-made sweetener. The more aware and informed consumers become about HFCS, the more they seek alternatives or avoid products containing HFCS altogether.

The CRA is feeling the pinch and is naturally eager to protect the bottom line of its refiner members. CFH is leading the way in the fight against this corn sugar sham.

Last week we launched a new website dedicated to protecting your right to know what is contained in what you eat and drink – FoodIdentityTheft.com – and CFH supporters have sent more than 21,000 messages to decision-makers, from Congress to the FDA, urging them to deny the CRA’s petition.

Please take a moment now and submit your own comments to the FDA telling them to resist this “corn sugar sham.”

If you haven’t already sent a message, please do so! Consumer input and participation is the most critical part of our multi-pronged campaign to preserve your access to truthful, non-misleading health and nutrition information.

Also be sure to check back often at Citizens.org and FoodIdentityTheft.com for updates and further opportunities to take action.

March for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food 10/1/11 – 10/16/11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@right2knowmarch.org

Right2Know March Announces Events During 313 Mile Walk to the White House for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food

Coalition Demands a “Reset” by
Obama Administration on GMO Labeling

 

NEW YORK, NY – In two days a diverse coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals will begin to march from the Historic Flatbush Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY to the gates of the White House to ask the Obama Administration to support labeling of genetically engineered foods, also termed “Genetically Modified Organisms” or “GMOs”. The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as hundreds of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles to the White House. The route and details on daily events can be viewed at Right2KnowMarch.org.

“Pesticide companies develop Genetically Engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Chief Scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods contain untested novel foreign compounds that can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join the Oct 1 NYC Right2Know March kick-off rally at Prospect Park at 11am to 1pm followed by marchers walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to the United Nations.

In addition to daily marching, the following are major events planned by the Right2Know March:
RALLY – 1-Oct R2K Kick Off Event,11am – 1pm Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
RALLY – 3 Oct, 10:45-11:45am Autumn Harvest Health Food 1625 East 2nd St, Scotch – Plains, NJ
MEET-UP – 3 Oct 4pm – 5pm George Street Coop Natural Foods 89 Morris St, New Brunswick, NJ
RALLY – 4 Oct, 2:15 -3:15pm Whole Earth Center 360 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ
MEET-UP – 5 Oct, 12:45 – 1:45pm Big Bear Natural Foods 322 West Trenton Ave #1, Morrisville, PA
NON-GMO FOAM RALLY – 6 Oct, 3:35 – 4:05pm Weavers Way Coop 559 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA
MEET-UP – 6 Oct, 7:05 – 8:05pm Mariposa Food Coop 4726 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA
RALLY – 7 Oct, 12 noon – midnight – The Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, 3819 Hamilton St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
MEET-UP – 8 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45pm Martindale Natural Market 1172 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA
MEET-UP – 9 Oct, 10-2pm Newark Farmers Market, Market East Plaza, 280 E. Main Street, Newark, DE
RALLY – 13-Oct, 11am – 6pm – Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD
WORLD FOOD DAY RALLY – 16 Oct Concluding Rally 12:30pm to 5pm at the White House in Lafayette Park 1600 H Street, NW Washington, DC Marchers estimated to arrive at 1pm. Event to feature Mom’s Panel and conclusion of the march

“The Right2Know March is an unprecedented effort to win genuine transparency on Genetically Engineered foods,” says Katherine DiMatteo of IFOAM and a lead coordinator of the Right2Know March. “Most Americans agree they have a right to know what is in the food they put in their own and their children’s bodies, but current federal policy favors the pesticide industry and hides the facts,” says DiMatteo. “It’s time to reset US policy on GMOs.”

Helping lead the march is Joseph Wilhelm, President of Rapunzel and Indian activist, Dr. Vanadana Shiva, both veteran GMO campaigners who twice marched across Europe for controls on GMOs and in support of GMO labeling, which is required in the EU. They will be joined at the events in NYC and Washington, DC as well as along the march, by advocates, media personalities, farmers and business leaders who will speak out for GMO labeling, including: Andrew Kimbrell (Founder, Center for Food Safety, Frances Moore Lapp? (Author, Diet for a Small Planet), Michael Hansen (Senior Scientist, Consumers Union), George Siemon (CEO, Organic Valley) and many others.

“No matter what you believe about GMOs, the bottom line is that we have a right to know what is in our food so we can all make better decisions for the health of our families,” says TV host and green lifestyle author Sara Snow.

Mothers are also marching and will speak out at the World Food Day Rally at the White House on October 16. “Without labeling, consumers have no way of knowing if the foods they are feeding their families have been genetically engineered to contain new proteins,” says Robyn O’Brien, author and founder of the Allergy Kids Foundation. “Because there is no definitive test that can be relied upon to predict whether a newly expressed protein might trigger an allergic reaction, it is important that genetically engineered foods are labeled so that the food allergic population can exercise caution and make an informed choice about what they eat. GMO labeling would provide essential and possibly life-saving information.”

Right2Know March spokespeople are available to debate GMO manufacturers on the labeling issue. “After 30 years and billions of dollars in research, only two principal GMO traits have been successfully developed: herbicide tolerance and insecticide production. Despite industry promises, there are no GMO traits currently on the market for increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other humanitarian or environmental benefit,” says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project, fiscal sponsor of the Right2Know March. “Americans should have the right to opt out of this experiment, and this march is about standing up and demanding that freedom.”

Founding organizations of the Right2Know march include the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), the Non-GMO Project and the Sustainable Living Roadshow, who are joined by founding organic brands Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Rapunzel. In recent months, numerous titans of the organic and natural food sector have become sponsors of the Right2Know March including: Nature’s Path; Organic Valley; Stonyfield; United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI); Nutiva; Kamut International; and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.

Members of the media are encouraged to follow the entire organizing effort and report on our progress. Please sign up for email alerts through our website or call Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 to arrange interviews or for in person requests. Members of the public should call the Right2Know March Hotline: 202.557.5164 or email erica@right2knowmarch.org .

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Additional sponsors and affiliates include: Weleda; Biodynamic Farming and Garden Association; Center for Food Safety; Food Democracy Now; Organic Trade Association; The Organic Center; Independent Natural Food Retailers Association; National Cooperative Grocers Association; Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Northeast Organic Farming Association’s of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut; National Organic Coalition; Organic Farming research Foundation; Food and Water Watch; Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture; Organic Consumers Association; Sustainable Food Trust; Truth in Labeling Coalition; Organic Seed Growers Association; Institute for Responsible Technology; and Cuatro Puertas.

Citizens for Health Launches New Website!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Primary Media Contact:
Kevin Sanchez
Hollenbeck Associates
(415) 227-1150 ext. 10
kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com

FoodIdentityTheft.com Alerts Consumers to Deceptive Product Packaging

WASHINGTON, DC – As the nation’s food integrity is under attack by profit-hungry corporations, and consumers are being targeted by deceptive packaging practices, Citizens for Health, has launched a new website, FoodIdentityTheft.com, to alert and inform Americans about misleading labeling on many food, beverage and health products.

Since 1993, Citizens for Health, “the Voice of the Natural Health Consumer,” has provided information about the threats posed by hundreds of everyday products.  By supplying facts, links to news stories and videos, legislative updates and more, the non-profit organization helps shoppers make informed decisions about the products they buy for themselves and their families.

“Many consumers believe that the U.S. government will protect us from false advertising or stop corporations from making unproven claims about their products,” said FoodIdentityTheft.com Senior Editor, Linda Bonvie.  “But the truth is, corporations and their lobbyists have a huge influence in Washington.  We as consumers have to protect ourselves, stay informed, and tell our legislators and government agencies that we won’t accept being lied to.”

FoodIdentityTheft.com will provide current information on many vital issues, beginning with the controversy surrounding the proposed name change of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The trade association for this man-made sweetener has asked the U.S. government to legally change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to the misleading and inaccurate name “corn sugar.”

According to Bonvie, “We’re not advocating the benefits or decrying the harm of this product. We simply believe there is no valid reason for the name change. It would only confuse consumers and allow food makers to conceal the identity of this product on ingredients labels.”

“Every day we see stories about food makers trying to pull a fast one on consumers,” said Jim Turner, Chairman of Citizens for Health. “Resources like FoodIdentityTheft.com are necessary to ensure that consumers are aware of the deceptive practices some corporations are using.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at 415-227-1150 ext 110 or via e-mail at kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com.

Citizens for Health Launches Campaign Against FDA’s NDI Guidance

September 20, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: James J. Gormley, VP and Senior Policy Advisor, Citizens for Health
Phone: 202.695.2027; email: jamesgormley01@gmail.com

Washington, D.C. – Citizens for Health (CFH) today launched an action campaign to join with our 100,000 supporters and the rest of the health freedom movement in opposing the FDA’s “Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues”. The agency issued the guidance, mandated by the food “safety” law passed earlier this year, in July, purportedly to clarify requirements for filing new dietary ingredient (NDI) submissions.

However, the FDA is going way beyond simply clarifying existing requirements. It is attempting to drastically change existing law by saying that finished product manufacturers must make a submission for every product that contains an NDI or whenever a formula is changed, if an NDI is present.

James Gormley, Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor for CFH, notes:

“Quite simply, the FDA is ignoring Section 413 [21 USC §350b] of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), which says an NDI submission is not required if ‘there is a history of use or other evidence of safety’ supporting its inclusion, use and marketing prior to 1994. Essentially, the FDA is making NDI submissions product-specific rather than ingredient-specific, which contravenes the spirit and the letter of DSHEA.”

Gormley adds:

“In addition, the FDA’s attempt to create new regulatory requirements using a guidance document is in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and is in violation of the law on the basis of this alone.”

While much has been written regarding the FDA’s guidance since its introduction, CFH made a strategic decision to “let the dust settle” and do a thorough analysis before adding its voice to the clamor for its withdrawal, given the massive impact to the dietary supplement industry implicit in the guidance. CFH is also calling for the comment period to be extended to July, 2012 so that more industry and policy experts, as well as the public, can be sufficiently heard on the issue. (Industry leaders have succeeded in pressuring the FDA to extend the comment period once already, until December of this year).

Click here to send a letter urging Congress to put pressure on the FDA to withdraw the guidance.

In the coming days and weeks CFH will offer further analysis and talking points on the guidance, as well as opportunities to take action. In fact, CFH will be conferring with consumer advocates and health-food industry leaders this Friday at the Natural Products Expo East trade show in a meeting sponsored by Jarrow Formulas, Inc.

CFH asks you to join them, industry leaders, the health freedom community and concerned Americans everywhere in the campaign to get the guidance withdrawn. Furthermore, ask Congress to rebuke the FDA and demand that the agency state, for the record, that they will no longer attempt to deviate from the plain and intended meaning of DSHEA.

Associated Press Story: FDA Skeptical of Corn Sugar Sham

September 19, 2011

In a story posted on September 15, the Associated Press reports that in response to the Corn Refiners Association’s original request to use the term “corn syrup,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, told colleagues he was uncomfortable with changing the name and suggested that allowing it would deprive consumers of important information and invite ridicule.

Read the whole story here.

FDA “Protectin?g” the Public from Locally Grown, High Quality Food: An Interview with Deborah Stockton

Powerful corporate interests  have become proficient in colluding with the state to shield themselves from having to compete in the free market. In this podcast, Deborah Stockton, Executive Director of the National Independent Consumers & Farmers Association speaks with Michael Ostrolenk about how the heavy-hand of government over-regulation is forcing many small, independent farms across the United States to close.  The FDA labyrinth of  “food safety” rules do not actually protect the public but rather protect the corporate farming industry from competition while restricting consumers’ access to high-quality, locally-grown food.

Listen now – click here!