FDA praised for rejecting 'corn sugar' label

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected a petition from the beverage industry to relabel high-fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar," drawing praise Thursday from the advocacy group Consumers Union.

The Corn Refiners Association had petitioned the FDA to allow the "corn sugar" moniker on ingredient labels. The food industry uses the term "corn sugar" in television commercials arguing that high-fructose corn syrup is no less healthy than sugarcane.

The FDA rejected that petition Wednesday — just hours before New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on many soft drinks larger than 16 ounces.

"The FDA did the right thing. High-fructose corn syrup is not 'corn sugar.' If the name had been changed, it would have given consumers the wrong impression that this product is ‘natural,' " said Urvashi Rangan, director of the Consumer Safety Group at Consumer Reports, which is published by Consumers Union.