No love left between sugar and corn syrup producers, as representatives of both industries took to a federal courtroom on Wednesday to resolve claims over a long-lasting dispute.
On Wednesday, sugar industry representatives met corn syrup producers’ representative in Los Angeles. A heated opening session heard arguments and opening statements from both sweet industries. Representing the sugar industry, Attorney Mark Lanier engaged in the not so sweet debate with Attorney Dan Webb, representing the corn refiners.
The sugar industry is accusing corn refiners of false claims regarding sugar, quoting advertising efforts to pitch corn syrup as being as healthy as their product. Corn syrup producers are claiming the sugar industry has not only engaged in a long campaign of misinformation, but also defamation of corn syrup as a sweetener.
False advertising on both sides led to the situation where there is no love left between sugar and corn syrup producers. At the same time, both industries have been in the public eye for contributing to a large array of health issues, from diabetes to tooth decay to obesity.
After years of legal battle it all boils down to billion dollars in claims. It all started with a campaign designed by corn refiners, pitching corn syrup to be:
“as nutritionally the same as table sugar”.
Attorney Mark Lanier referenced this claim, stating it is simply wrong and that corn refiners acknowledge it. In 2011 the ASR Group sued corn trade for the false claims present in the advertising campaign, stating that corn syrup may not be equated to corn sugar and that calling it natural is a grave misinformation.
Corn refiners replied with a counter lawsuit in which the Sugar Association is faced with misinformation allegations. Numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture aren’t helping much. From 1999 to 2014, average sugar consumption per U.S. citizen remained relatively stable: 66.4 lb to 68.4 lb. As per corn syrup, it dropped from 85.3 lb per person to 60.7 lb.
In 2012, the FDA also concluded that corn syrup may not be used under the term ‘sugar’. Now, the sugar industry is asking 1.1 billion dollars in compensation. Corn refiners are looking for 530 million dollars.
Photo Credits: Flickr