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Why high fructose corn syrup will not be banned

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 5

The debate over the health effects of high fructose corn syrup continues to rage in the public sector as waistlines in America continue to expand. The use of high fructose corn syrup is everywhere and is not going away anytime soon. The economics and fiscal policies behind high fructose corn syrup are keeping prices artificially low and decreasing competition. Health professionals and some free-market economists call out for the ban of high fructose corn syrup, but it will not happen anytime soon. The reasons for this are simple: subsidies and quotas/tariffs.

Subsidies for corn

What started out as a simple program to help the

Ban on high fructose corn syrup
average farmer make a living and provide the United States with annual crops has morphed into something else. The cost to grow and market corn now exceeds the market price. This difference is paid out to the farmer by the U.S. Government. Unfortunately, the recipients of this subsidy are generally not the stereotypical image of the small family farmer, but giant corporations. In particular, Archer Daniels Midland benefits heavily from these subsidies. Studies have indicated over 40% of ADM profits are as a direct result of subsidies. The political capital ADM and other subsidized corporations have is immense and legislation to ban or curtail these subsidies always fall flat.

Quotas and tariffs on sugar imports

Along with trying to keep the corn growers happy, decades ago the U.S. brought about legislation to limit the amount of sugar allowed into our country. By limiting the amount allowed as imports, the domestic crop is guaranteed a market but at a much higher price than what could be obtained by consumers and manufacturers on an open exchange. The little bit that is allowed into the country is also affected by tariffs which further increase the cost. The cost of sugar in the United States is double that of nearly every other country in the world.

The lack of affordable sugar guarantees that food manufacturers will continue to rely on cheap high fructose corn syrup. Profit is king and along with corn subsidies and quotas and tariffs on sugar imports, profits will continue to increase--as will the cases of juvenile diabetes. It is no coincidence that obesity has increased at a dramatic rate since the 1980s. This is the era when soft drink manufacturers all switched to high fructose corn syrup. As the food leaders go, so goes the rest of the food industry. Now it is found in everything from ketchup to cookies and cakes. Consumer health issues are important especially with food manufacturers constantly providing surprises with unexpected ingredients in foods or contaminated products. It may very well come to light that high fructose corn syrup is even worse nutritionally and chemically than imagined. The future cost of medical issues stemming from obesity is astronomical, but there will be no relief physically or fiscally until something is done about these political issues. Do not look for a ban on high fructose corn syrup anytime soon. The best you can do is be a smart consumer and encourage others to look at the labels of their products closely.



Mar 17, 2010 12:01am
What is really hilarious to me is all the new commercials trying to downplay the potentially damaging effects to health that high fructose corn syrup can cause.
Mar 17, 2010 4:23am
I personally think it's good that people are showing outrage about this. HFCS is in waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many foods. It's not good to be eating that stuff so much all day every day of your life. Our bodies are made to metabolize sugars in a certain way, and HFCS metabolization skips a very important step, throwing our bodies reactions out of whack. It's one thing to put the stuff in a few things, but to go to the grocery store and see that a good 95% of the food and drinks on the shelf have this ingredient listed near the top, is pretty absurd IMO. It's a little extreme, and completely unnecessary.
Mar 17, 2010 5:51am
Thanks for a great article. It's criminal what subsidies are doing to 'real' food nowadays. You should also start keeping an eye out for HFCS to start creeping into many 'health' and vegetarian and vegan foods you previously thought were healthy, as many of those companies have been quietly bought up by larger con-gloms... where it will be in their best interest to replace natural sweeteners (or just add the crap into what was a previously unsweetened product) to get even more kickbacks from the Govt.
HFCS is like Crack in more ways than one. Great article.
Mar 17, 2010 8:51am
I read somewhere that if Coke were to add just 1/10 of a cent cost increase per serving to change sweeteners that it would cost them over $100 million dollars. Guess that won't happen anytime soon. The gov't program is killing the chances of change. Read about ADM and the cost to the consumer of the subsidies. It is mind-blowing. I try to avoid HFCS when I can, but it is next to impossible. It took me forever last summer to even find a barbeque sauce without it.
Nov 11, 2013 2:38am
The sickest joke is when people think fructose is "healthier" than sugar. Why do we have to sweeten everything? Answer: to create insulin imbalances that cause a constant craving for sugar. then we can, as you say, ban normal sugar anf press GMO fructose onto people!
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