This is a guest article by Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is the sugar industries’ bad penny.  You know – the one that never goes away.  Much like the proverbial bad penny, the CRA just keeps popping up.  This time with its incessant barrage of “sugar is sugar” ads in the media.  The millions spent on these ads could feed the more than one million of homeless children in America for a month instead of fostering obesity, illness and disease.

The CRA is stubborn, consistent and unrepentant in their message despite a 95% disapproval rating from viewers of their deceptive ads called “sugar is sugar”.  Since 1947, it has been the voice of the corporate giants of the corn industry.

It is not a local organization based in the fields of corn that populate Iowa, Nebraska and bordering states.  It is based smack dab in the middle of Washington, D.C.’s political lobbying district.  And, it is not lobbying and advertising on behalf of small family farmers.

CRA companies produced more than 4 billion pounds of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. in 2009.  That’s almost double the amount produced in 1990.  Most of this high fructose corn syrup ended up in soft drinks of all kinds.  The balance was used in processed foods such as soups, sauces and gravies.

In 2009 the per capita use of high fructose corn syrup reached 63.6 pounds per person.  The synthetic fructose in high fructose corn syrup can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.

According to a 2009 study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, foods and beverages in the U.S. are typically sweetened with 50% glucose and 50% fructose from high-fructose corn syrup.  The study suggests that at least 16% of the studied populations were consuming more than 25% of their daily energy requirements from sugar-sweetened beverages rather than from protein.  These numbers are the result of advertising campaigns generated by Big Food and the CRA.

The executives of CRA member companies are more comfortable in a three-piece suit than on a tractor.  Most attend college reunions at ivy league colleges not farm-belt agriculture schools.  They are business majors (many MBAs) and not agronomist or agriculture experts.  Their products are designed by chemists, not farmers.

Make no mistake about it, the people who make decisions at the CRA are not farmers or ordinary Americans.  They are the best-educated and most privileged.  Most, if not all, have spent little or no time working on a farm or in a hospital dealing daily with the repercussions of high fructose corn syrup or “corn sugar”.  Others are part of the Washington elite.

Who are these companies – the privileged few that formed the CRA and Big Food and make all of the decisions about the food on your table?  They are the executives of their member companies, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Incorporated, Corn Products International, Inc./National Starch, Penford Products Co., Roquette America, Inc. and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas.  We could not find a small farmer among them.

While the CRA’s mantra is “sugar is sugar”, one need look no farther than the website for one of its members Penford Products Co., a publicly traded (PENX)  Washington corporation located in Colorado, with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

Their North American Food Ingredients division is a developer and manufacturer of specialty starches and dextrins sold to the food manufacturing and food service industries.  Their high fructose corn syrup can be found in products sold in airplanes, school cafeterias and on every asile of your market.

The larger shareholders in Penford include: T. Rowe Price Associates, Dimensional Fund Advisers, Rutabaga Capital Management, Royce & Associates, Voyageur Asset Management, and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.  Not exactly a local group of caring, hard-working farmers.

Penford’s self-description found on their website reads: “ Penford Products Co. is a leading supplier of chemically modified specialty starches.  Through a commitment to research and development, we develop customized product applications that help our clients realize improved manufacturing efficiencies and advancements in product quality.”

The operative words in their carefully worded self-description are “chemically modified starches”.  Can someone explain to us how a company that boasts of making “chemically modified starches” can make claims in advertisements that “sugar is sugar”, and is a natural sugar, when they chemically modify corn to make high fructose corn syrup.  Oops, we meant “corn sugar”.

Once you get used to calling an ugly old pig, an ugly old pig, it is hard to call it pretty without cosmetic surgery.  High fructose corn syrup did not have cosmetic surgery.  It is the same old ugly pig that has been scientifically-proven to cause weight gain, obesity and food addiction under an assumed name.  Maybe high fructose corn syrup has gone into witness protection under the name of “corn sugar”?  If not, maybe it should.

Another member’s website, Tate & Lyle Americas (a Florida corporation located in Illinois), states: “We design and manufacture a vast range of customized food stabilizer systems and highly functional ingredient blends for the global food industry.  Our approach is to treat each customer project as an opportunity: a question that needs a unique, personalized solution that’s also fast, flexible and reliable. That’s how we help our customers grow – year after year, decade after decade.”

This does not sound like a company making natural products.  Are they customizing sugar to increase the profits of food manufacturers?  Would that customized sugar be called high fructose corn syrup?  Or, by its alias “corn sugar”.  It seems like genetically modified corn chemically transformed into high fructose corn syrup is acquiring many alias much like a bunko artist or a criminal on the run.  The only other reason for changing your name and identity is to join the government’s witness protection program.

Another member is Roquette America, Inc., ( formerly a subsidiary of The H. J. Heinz Company), a member of Big Food and Big Pharma, which is owned by Roquette Frères, a French-based family-owned manufacturer of starch and sugar derivatives.  French?  Is there a France in Iowa, Nebraska or any other farm-belt state?  Nope.  No American farmers in this company.  Heck, most Americans like us probably can’t even pronounce it right.

Roquette Frères is the fourth largest global company in its sector, with 18 plants worldwide.  According to Roquette’s website, it “… produces a comprehensive range of high-quality food ingredients and additives, including sweeteners, polyols, starches, wheat gluten and proteins from corn, wheat, potato and pea.  Roquette is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of polyols, including sorbitol, mannitol and maltitol. Our products offer healthy alternatives to sugar while retaining the great taste of your product.”  Alternatives to sugar?  If “sugar is sugar”, why do they say their products are “alternatives to sugar”?  How can they claim a chemically created substitute is healthy?  It defies science!

Roquette’s Iowa plant manufactures starches including the high-fructose corn syrup used by companies including Coca-Cola and Heinz.  We had to go through layers of corporate camouflage to find out who the current owners of Roquette America were.  Apparently, the French don’t want Americans to know they manufacture high fructose corn syrup and these other chemical food substitutes in America’s heartland.

Another member, Corn Products International, is a publicly traded company (NYSE- CPO) located in Westchester, IL, owned primarily by hedge-funds.  We could not find one obvious farmer on the list of primary shareholders.

According to Corn Products International’s website, “For more than a century, Corn Products International has been providing ingredient solutions and innovations to the world.”  “Ingredient solutions”?  That doesn’t sound like “sugar is sugar” to us.  Their solutions to sugar are made up in labs by chemists not farmers in the field.

Archer Daniels Midland Company is a publicly traded company (NYSE: ADM) headquartered in Decatur, IL.  It boasts on its website that, “At more than 240 processing plants, we convert corn, oilseeds, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, chemical and energy uses.”

The operative word here is “convert”.  They convert genetically modified corn into high fructose corn syrup.  It’s not natural.  And, their sugar is not sugar either.  It is chemically treated, boiled-in-a-vat sugar with chemicals made much like drug dealers make crystal meth.

Cargill, Incorporated is the largest private corporation in the U.S., employing 131,000 people in 66 countries and operations in about 70 countries outside the U.S.  Cargill’s customers include food, beverage, industrial, pharmaceutical and personal care product makers, as well as farmers and foodservice providers.

They also produce high fructose corn syrup for soft drink and packaged goods manufacturers.  You can’t walk down the aisle of a market or look in your pantry without finding products containing high fructose corn syrup from Cargill.

The Corn Refiners Association is nothing more than a shill for some of the largest companies in America, and the world.  Their only interest is increasing sales, corporate profits and executive bonuses.  Their interests are not the same as yours.  These corporations couldn’t give a damn about your health.

Their knowledge of the negative effects of the dangers associated with high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar or whatever you want to call their corn-modified Frankenfood cannot be concealed by publishing a few cute ads or TV commercials.  You know, we know and they know they are polluting the health of America’s children.  Any other statement from the CRA would be an outright lie.

A number of companies have already stopped using high fructose corn syrup in some or all of their products.  Among them Sara Lee, ConAgra Foods, Hunt’s ketchup, Snapple drinks, Gatorade and Starbucks’ baked goods.  If high fructose corn syrup is the same as sugar, why have these nationally known food manufacturers removed them from their products?

Critics of the extensive use of this highly addictive chemical additive argue that the much-processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar.  No surprise, then,  that high fructose corn syrup, oops “corn sugar”, is a leading contributor to weight gain and obesity.  It is a chemically created sugar substitute with no nutritional benefits whatsoever to humans.

The side effects of high fructose corn syrup are numerous compared to what the industry would like you to believe.  High fructose corn syrup causes high insulin levels, increased weight gain, damages your liver, pancreas, heart and immune system while increasing your cholesterol and changes to your metabolism.

According to recent statistics, one out of every four Americans (or 57.7 million persons) suffers from an eating disorder.  We believe the number to be much higher because – due to the political and advertising clout of the corporations that manufacture and use it – addiction to high fructose corn syrup, allergy, intolerance and inflammation go intentionally unrecognized.  The CRA is a big part of the industries efforts to pull the wool over the eyes of Americans.

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N., are the authors of award winning books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories) and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner) available at, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.

The authors’ latest book, It’s Not Your Fault – Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction is now available at, Amazon and booksellers everywhere.

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks are the co-hosts of Surviving the 21st Century with Simon Barrett on Blogger News Network on Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. PST/1:00 PM EST found at or Blog Talk Radio.

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