ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

Organic but not Natural?

Center for Science in the Public Interest, the nutritional watchdog, has said it withdrew its threatened lawsuit against Pepsi after the company announced it was dropping an "All Natural" claim for 7up.

At issue, the use of high fructose corn syrup, which CSPI notes "is made through a complex chemical industrial process in which corn starch molecules are enzymatically reassembled into glucose and fructose molecules."

A couple of years ago, a company tried to make "organic high fructose corn syrup" by using the same process with organic corn. I heard the company halted work due to a lack of demand, but have also heard annecdotally that organic HFCS is available from a European company. (I have not confirmed this).

This became an issue a couple of years back, when the USDA gave a blanket approval for "food contact substances" - some 500+ FDA-allowed chemicals - for use in organic production. One was styrene-divinylbenzene, necessary to manufacture HFCS. The issue though never got on the front burner because no one came out with a product with Organic HFCS.

Presumably, if a company uses this sweetener with a natural label they will come on CSPI's radar screen, being forced to argue either that Organic HFCS is "natural" or to justify that an organic product could be "un-natural." This will prove a very interesting debate ... perhaps too interesting, which is why no one yet has tried to sweeten an organic product with organic high frustose corn syrup.