On May 30, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter in response to a citizen petition filed by the Corn Refiners Association (CFA) that made several requests in connection to the common name for “high fructose corn syrup” (HFCS). Specifically, FDA states that CFA requested that “corn sugar” be authorized as an optional name for HFCS in the GRAS affirmation regulation for that ingredient (21 CFR 184.1866), be removed as an optional name in the standard of identity for dextrose (21 CFR 168.111), and replaced by “dextrose” in the GRAS affirmation regulation for “corn sugar” (21 CFR 184.1857).
In the letter addressed to Ms. Audrae Erickson, President of CFA, FDA denied all of the organization’s requests. FDA was not persuaded to amend the regulations that govern these ingredients, citing the regulatory history and approach to the naming them. FDA defines sugar as a solid, dried, and crystallized food and syrup as an aqueous solution or liquid food and this nomenclature is repeated throughout the standards of identity for sweeteners. FDA cited common use of the term “corn sugar” to denote dextrose, both by the agency and the general public. There is an additional concern for those populations with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption that rely on “corn sugar” as an allowed ingredient when reviewing food labels. As a result, the FDA will not accept the term “corn sugar” as an alternate common name for high fructose corn syrup.
Manufacturers of foods and/or beverages with high fructose corn syrup should abstain from using the term “corn sugar” on their labels when declaring this ingredient. The incorrect use of this term could cause your product to be deemed misbranded and possibly detained.
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