Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney
On November 20, 2015, less than one month into a trial that pitted sugar companies against corn refiners, parties announced a settlement had been reached. The lawsuit in question involved the advertisement of various health claims relating to high fructose corn syrup. According to the parties, the terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.
In 2011, sugar companies brought suit against the Corn Refiners Association for using advertisements that referred to high fructose corn syrup as “corn sugar” and “natural.” Furthermore, the sugar companies disputed those advertisements that claimed high fructose corn syrup was “nutritionally the same as table sugar.”
According to the sugar companies, sugar and high fructose corn syrup are distinct products and any advertisement to the contrary is false and misleading. The sugar companies claimed that this false advertisement resulted in damages in excess of $1.1 billion. Relatedly, in 2012, the Food and Drug Administration issued a ruling denying the Corn Refiners Association petition to use “corn sugar” as an alternate name for high fructose corn syrup.
In a joint statement announcing the settlement agreement, the parties expressed that they will “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.”