2006-12-21 / Letters to the Editor

Corn syrup is safe, natural

We read Donna K. Drago’s Dec. 14 article “School Committee seeks lunch vendor at tonight’s workshop” with interest, particularly the Jamestown School Committee’s decision to target high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which may mislead your readers about this safe, natural, nutritive sweetener.

First and foremost, HFCS is safe. Since 1983, the Food and Drug Administration has listed HFCS as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (known as GRAS status) for use in food.

HFCS, like table sugar, is natural. It contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives.

Unfortunately, several press reports have pointed to HFCS as a “unique” cause of obesity. This assertion lacks scientific merit. In fact, Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Department chairman, told the New York Times, “There’s no substantial evidence to support the idea that high-fructose corn syrup is somehow responsible for obesity.”

HFCS has proven beneficial to consumers through its use in many foods and beverages, including several nutritious school food items that are commonly served such as: hams, chicken products, cheese spreads, peanut butter, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, spaghetti sauce, fruit-flavored yogurts, breakfast cereals, flavored milks, salad dressings, jams, breads, fruit drinks and juices, tomato paste, canned fruits and vegetables, graham crackers, reduced fat crackers, and breakfast cereals.

HFCS can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet. According to the American Dietetic Association, “Consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners when consumed in a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations . . . as well as individual health goals.”

Audrae Erickson,

president, Corn Refiners Association,

Washington, D.C. 20006

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