Judge Rules Against the Corn Processors in "Corn Sugar" Case
I wrote in May that the Western Sugar Cooperative was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the sugar refiners for misleading consumers in calling HFCS corn sugar. A federal judge recently ruled that the lawsuit must go through, according to a press release from the Sugar Association. According to U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall, who issued two opinions with her ruling on Friday, "Plaintiffs have met their burden in showing a reasonable probability of success on their argument that the statements are false."
Big sugar sued the corn processors this year as a result of what they called "false advertising, pure and simple." Inder Mathur, president and CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative said in a statement earlier this year. "If consumers are concerned about your product, then you should improve it or explain its benefits, not try to deceive people about its name or distort scientific facts."
Judge Marshall also found that the Corn Refiners Association's multi-million dollar campaign did "constitute 'commercial speech.'"
According to a press release from the Sugar Association, the lawsuit states that:
[C]onsumers 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.
I wrote in March that the Corn Refiners Association had asked the FDA to change the name HFCS to corn sugar. The Corn Refiner's Association lobbied hard for the name change because more and more people are refusing to buy products containing HFCS. As a result, many food manufacturers have stopped using HFCS and, instead, have replaced it with sugar. The lawsuit states that the defendants didn't wait for the FDA's ruling, which is still pending before debuting their multi million dollar advertising campaign.
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