Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sugar vs. corn sweetener lawsuit dropped

The sugar and corn sweetener industries have reached an out-of-court settlement in a bitter lawsuit launched in U.S. District Court in California.

Terms of the settlement have not been revealed.

The two giant industries accused each other of false claims about how their products harm the health of people, and they each brought reams of scientific opinions and studies to the trial.

Corn sweetener sales have declined, partly because more people are concerned about obesity.

"The parties had been trying to work on an agreement for a month before trial, and these things take time," W. Mark Lanier, an attorney for the sugar processors, told Reuters news agency.

A representative for corn refiners, chief among them Archer, Daniel Midlands, declined to comment.

Several sugar refiners including global leader ASR Group alleged in a 2011 lawsuit that a Corn Refiners Association advertising campaign describing high fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar" and "natural" was false.

The corn refiners countersued, saying the Sugar Association falsely said in its newsletter that corn syrup caused obesity and cancer.

Corn refiners argued that sugar processors were not damaged because they enjoyed record sales and profits during the ad campaign.

The sugar growers sought $1.1 billion in compensatory damages over the campaign. The corn refiners asked for about $530 million in their countersuit.

A joint statement issued after the settlement was neutral about which product is healthier.
Both industries "continue their commitments to practices that encourage safe and healthful use of their products, including moderation in the consumption of table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners," the parties said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012 ruled that corn syrup, used to sweeten foods including soda, could not be called sugar.