Monday, August 31, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Part 1

Many of us have seen the commercials in the last couple of years in which the Corn Refiner's Association attempts to make all of the people who are wary of high fructose corn syrup out to be ignorant, uneducated, and darn right stupid.  They state that we need to "get the facts".   So that is exactly what I intend to do.  Quite frankly, the commercials bug me. I think that if a product has a hundred saftey concerns associated with it, they are in no position to mock those who have concerns.

HFCS is most widely used to as a sugar substitute.  It costs less to produce and it is easier to blend and transport because it is liquid.

Perhaps the biggest concern I have is that a small amount of Mercury could be passed into the HFCS through the process it goes through before it becomes HFCS. Another concern I have is that it is in nearly every packaged product we eat and drink!  If there are concerns regarding something I am giving my family to eat, I want to know what it is and what the concerns are.

What does the CRA say?

I took some time to read what the CRA (Corn Refiners Association) had to say about all of this and surprisingly the website does not cover a lot of the safety concerns. It does, however, cover about 10-15 of the most popular concerns. The website seems to be pretty thorough and truthful in its explainations except for a few in which they are clearly making excuses and avoiding solid answers.    Simply stating facts as these does not prove them to be true.

Audrae Erickson, President of the Corn Refiners Association has said, “Americans should know that no mercury or mercury-based technology is used in the production of high fructose corn syrup in North America.” He also says, "High fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets FDA’s requirements for the use of the term ‘natural.’"

Those are some pretty big claims.  Especially since the FDA does not have requirements or regulations for the use of the term 'natural'!    They put it through a high level of processing and they use at least one genetically modified (GMO) enzyme to produce it.   Does this sound natural to you?

And then there is the mercury...
pilot study reported that some high-fructose corn syrup manufactured in the U.S. in 2005 contained trace amounts of mercury. The mercury appeared to come from caustic soda andhydrochloric acid, two chemicals used in the manufacture of high-fructose corn syrup. It has been found that caustic soda used by HFCS has been produced in industrial chlorine chlor-alkali plants using the mercury cell Castner-Kellner process, and can contain traces of mercury....Nine of the twenty samples tested did contain measurable amounts of mercury.   - Wikipedia on HFCS

High Fructos Corn Syrup: Part 2 (Coming Soon)

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