Tuesday, 17 May 2011

False Advertising Allegations too Bitter to Swallow for Sugar Producers

Few deceptive business practices that California business dispute lawyers come across are as widely used as false and misleading advertising. A group of sugar producers have filed a false advertising lawsuit against manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup, claiming that their marketing campaigns that promote high fructose corn syrup as being as sweet as sugar, constitute false advertising.

The lawsuit has been filed by three sugar producers, and names several corn processors as defendants, including Cargill. In the lawsuit, the sugar producers are alleging that the corn processors are falsely advertising through a marketing campaign that promotes high fructose corn syrup as a natural substitute to sugar. The lawsuit is claiming compensation for lost profits for the sugar processors. The lawsuit also wants the defendants to correct their advertising. The corn processors, on the other hand, claim that the lawsuit is without merit, and that both high fructose corn syrup and sugar are similar nutritionally and metabolically.

High fructose corn syrup is used in a wide variety of processed foods. However, there have been concerns about the health effects from the use of the product. In fact, sales of high fructose corn syrup have dropped significantly last year. The sugar industries claim that the corn processing lobby is using false advertising tactics in order to rebrand high fructose corn syrup, as a safe and natural sugar equivalent.

Last year, the Corn Refiners’ Association filed for permission to use the word “sugar” on labels of foods containing high fructose corn syrup. However, the Food and Drug Administration has not decided on the matter. Notwithstanding the lack of approval from the federal agency, the corn processors have been using the term in advertising. The industry has launched a massive marketing campaign that includes television and print commercials as well as websites dedicated to the promotion of corn sugar. It's this kind of promotion that the sugar industries are protesting through their lawsuit.

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