Big Corn & Big Sugar Confidentially Settle 4-Year-Old False Advertising Lawsuit

ohcarrieA long-delayed four-year legal battle between Big Corn and Big Sugar has finally come to an end — not with a jury verdict, or with a judge throwing the case out, but with a confidential settlement that leaves a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Way back in 2011, in the midst of the corn industry’s failed attempt to rename “high fructose corn syrup” as simply “corn sugar,” some actual sugar refiners sued, alleging that the corn folks were engaging in false advertising by telling consumers that HFCS and sugar were equivalent.

“This suit is about false advertising, pure and simple,” the President and CEO of one plaintiff, the Western Sugar Cooperative, said at the time, claiming that the Corn Refiners Association was trying to “deceive people” and “distort scientific facts” about HFCS.

For fun, let’s take short break to revisit the folksy, corny goodness of those ads, like this one featuring a then-unknown actress Carrie Coon, now starring in HBO’s The Leftovers:

Anyway, this legal battle lingered on — much like an afternoon spent slowly strolling through the corn rows, pondering your fictional family’s health — even after the FDA decided in 2012 that no, HFCS could not be called “corn sugar,” mostly because that alternative name is already taken by good ol’ fashioned dextrose.

After being bombarded with, quite literally, hundreds of press releases and statements from both sides of this battle, we find out today that all this nasty public name-calling and conspiracy-alleging has been quietly settled, like many business matters, in a closed-door session with details that can’t be shared.

In a joint statement to the L.A. Times, both sides effectively admit that this was a pointless endeavor that should never have occurred:
“The Parties 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.”

Ain’t that sweet…

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