The name ‘corn sugar’ more accurately reflects the source of the food (corn), identifies the basic nature of the food (a sugar), and discloses the food’s function (a sweetener).
Petition by the Corn Refiners Association to the FDA
Euphemism (YOO-fuh-mism), putting lipstick on a rhetorical pig. From Latin, euphemismus, and the Greek, euphemizein, meaning “to speak good.”
The corn industry wants us to forget the term “high fructose corn syrup.” After all, it’s just sugar. The cornies’ attempt to rename their problem illustrates the fundamental flaw of a euphemistic label: if the product’s ethos is out of whack, changing its name may not fix it.
Congress heavily subsidizes corn, making it a cheap source of sugar, making it the sweetener of choice for soft-drink makers, making it a leading source of obesity. The average American glugged 35.7 pounds of high fructose corn syrup last year. The statistic alarms the cornbuskers. A decade ago we were gobbling more than 45 pounds.
Euphemistic relabeling does work occasionally. Sales of eurcic acid rapeseed oil took off after getting renamed “canola oil” in 1988. On the other hand, more recently the prune growers failed to get us to call the fruit “dried plums.”
Want to improve high fructose corn syrup’s reputation? Stop subsidizing corn. Stop drinking sodas. Stop getting fat. It’s very conservative of Figaro to say that, though the Sweet Tea Party may not think so.