The Corn Lobby reads blogs

Interesting... Wilton Alston posts over at Lew Rockwell's blog and yesterday (March 29th), he posted this:
Another bit of HFCS Truth
Every time I see one of those commercials about how high-fructose corn syrup is "made from corn and fine in moderation" I get a little upset. I'm not upset because what the commercial claims is untrue, although it is misleading. I'm not upset at the moxie of the corn lobby. People selling stuff are supposed to, well, try to sell their stuff.

I get upset because the only reason HFCS is so prevalent in the U.S. diet is because sugar tariffs and taxes make it cost effective. Put HFCS, or any other pseudo-natural sweetener on equal market footing with sugar and guess what? No one would buy the stuff. The fact that it might be okay in moderation--and I agree with Dr. Oz that it's not--is therefore a secondary issue at best.

From whence do these tariffs arise and who do they benefit? The tariffs benefit companies that make HFCS, companies like ADM. It works like this: ADM lobbies Congress. Congress places tariffs on sugar. ADM sells HFCS to Coca Cola. ADM and Coke get fat, owing directly to corporate welfare. Everybody else gets fat on the made-from-corn sweetener that no one would otherwise use.

Nice racket.
It is a nice racket -- the Federal (ie: our dollars) subsidy for corn-based alcohol for automotive fuel is another perfect example of a "nice racket". Well, Mr. Alton's post raised some eyebrows somewhere as he got a rather prompt reply:
re: "Another bit of HFCS Truth"
Apparently, the corn lobby reads the LRCBlog! After the publishing of my blog post on HFCS, I got a nice letter from the president of the Corn Refiners Association in D.C.

The note I received opened with:
We read the March 29 article �Another bit of HFCS Truth,� with interest. Unfortunately, the suggestion that �the only reason HFCS is so prevalent in the U.S. diet is because sugar tariffs and taxes make it cost effective,� is misleading. We would like to provide you with science-based information on this safe sweetener and be a reference for you for future articles.
The letter points to some published research 'proving' that there is no link between HFCS and obesity. Wilton replies in part:
With my tongue not that far into my cheek, let me say this. When the tariffs are removed and HFCS still dominates the market, let's return to this debate. Or, alternatively, when the Corn Refiner's Association suggests that the tariffs are unnecessary, due to their product's clear [superiority], I'll change my tune.
Indeed. Given the options of Passover Coke made with sugar and the usual Coke made with HFCS, it's sugar every time for me. Pepsi just came out with a new Cola made with Sugar and they are releasing versions of their regular Cola and Mountain Dew with Sugar instead of HFCS. The Dew is one of my favorites so this will be a wonderful thing. Corn is fine and it's the job of a businessman to sell 'product' but to create an artificial advantage is not right -- start with a level playing field; if people prefer Sugar, start growing cane, don't try to tariff it out of existence.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on March 31, 2009 7:31 PM.

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