Agency Reverses Position, Says Products with HFCS May Be Labeled “Natural”
In a July 3, 2008, letter to the Corn Refiners Association, the FDA has indicated that products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may be labeled “natural” if the synthetic fixing agent that is used in the HFCS production process does not come into contact with the high dextrose equivalent corn starch hydrolysate, which undergoes enzymatic reaction to produce HFCS. The fixing agent apparently holds the enzyme in place on a column and any unreacted agent is removed by washing before the starch hydrolysate is added. Thus, “we would not object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing the HFCS produced by the manufacturing process described” by a representative of the Archer Daniels Midland Co., who met with FDA at the request of the Corn Refiners Association in April 2008.
The agency added, “we would object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing HFCS that has a synthetic substance such as a synthetic fixing agent included in or added to it. We would also object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing HFCS if the acids used to obtain the starch hydrolysate do not fit within our policy on ‘natural.’” In its letter, the FDA acknowledges that it previously took the position that the term “natural” could not be used on a product containing HFCS, but changed its position when it learned that none of the fixing agent comes in contact with the main HFCS ingredient.