Mom Bloggers Paid to Promote High Fructose Corn Syrup: Why Wasn’t I Invited?

Mom Bloggers Paid to Promote High Fructose Corn Syrup: Why Wasn't I Invited?

Jaclyn Bruntfield
Harrison Patch

Earlier this month, the Corn Refiners Association, an industry trade group, invited some mom bloggers to listen in on a conference call about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The call, which was organized in conjunction with a web site called Mom Central, has stirred up some controversy in the mommy blogging world, with some of the participants writing about it in return for $50 gift cards.

Other bloggers turned down the invitation, citing ideological opposition to accepting money from the Corn Refiners Association in return for advertising all the wonderful aspects of consuming HFCS.

I must say, my feelings were really hurt when I found out I wasn’t invited to the corn syrup propaganda party. Though I’m still trying to get over my disappointment—like a teenager who didn’t get invited to the popular girl’s sweet 16—it seems that I didn’t miss anything particularly enlightening.

Desiree Peeples of Mommy Reporter said that she declined the offer because the Corn Refiners Association was “pimping” bloggers and promoting claims that HFCS is “harmless in moderation and not any more damaging to health than say, cane sugar or honey.”

Jessica Gottlieb, another mom blogger, also chose not to participate in the call because she believes that real food has “roots or a mother.”

But other bloggers weren’t so discerning. Take Hil’Lesha, blogger at To the Motherhood, where she said that the conference call made her think about all of the foods in her pantry that contains different types of sugar and while she’s “not sure what to think” about claims that HFCS isn’t harmful to one’s health, she said she would keep their opinions in mind.

The Corn Refiners Association’s blog tour is the most recent tactic used to help put HFCS on an equal playing ground with refined sugar, honey and even agave nectar. The campaign started in 2008 as many large food companies, at the behest of consumers fearful of the detrimental health effects of consuming corn syrup, stopped using HFCS in their foods.

They’ve so far used a media blitz (see this amusing commercial that implies that corn syrup is natural and healthy) and lobbied the FDA to allow HFCS to be renamed “corn sugar”. Most recently they’ve appealed to mothers to spread the message that corn syrup…ahem…corn sugar, is healthy in small doses.

But it’s questionable whether the tactics have been effective.

According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, HFCS consumption in the US peaked in 1999, with per capita consumption at 45.4 pounds each year, which equates to about 215 calories daily.

In the decade since Americans have significantly decreased their HFCS consumption to 35.7 pounds a year, or 169 calories a day.

In my opinion there’s no question that America’s obesity epidemic is directly correlated with the use of HFCS in foods. While the Corn Refiners Association has scientists working on their side, many studies have linked HFCS consumption to health ailments ranging from obesity to diabetes to cancer.

There’s a side of this though that I haven’t come across in the blogging world: The fact that 86 percent of all U.S. corn is genetically modified is something I wrote about for a recent Green Parenting column and an issue that’s been largely absent in this debate.

The Corn Refiners Association says that 56 percent of all American sweeteners are derived from corn, but what they fail to mention is that nearly all of that corn is genetically modified.

I’m sure they could, with a little help from Monsanto, give you 100 reasons why genetically modified corn is no different than regular corn. And while the health effects of consuming this corn have yet to be researched in the long-term, the U.S. government has not mandated manufacturers to disclose whether its genetically modified or not.

As a mommy blogger myself, the best message I can send to readers isn’t one “pimped” to me from an industry trade group in return for 50 bucks, but one that’s promoting the health and wellbeing of consumers.

In the name of healthy children, healthy food and a healthy planet, I urge you to boycott foods that contain HFCS.

And don’t worry—everyone’s invited!


4 Responses

  1. Thanks for mentioning me in this post. I have had lots of discussions about HFCS with many, many people since my post was published. Please don’t feel bad about missing this so-called “educational webinar.” It was more than obvious that the CRA was more interested in promoting the false idea that HFCS is “healthy and safe.” I am on your side. I will boycott all foods that contain HFCS… and I don’t need a $50 gift card to do so. 🙂

  2. […] Mom Bloggers Paid to Promote High Fructose Corn Syrup: Why Wasn’t I Invited? « […]

  3. This is the first I have heard of this and I am disgusted. HFCS is evil and to think they have moms out there promoting the stuff makes me sick.

  4. Free Kashi Snack Bar…

    I found your article related to one of mine at :)…

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