High Fructose Corn Syrup
In this section of Seattle Organic Restaurants, I'm going to talk about high fructose corn syrup. Farmers in 1970s and 80s had major problem growing enough corn for US public consumption. In order to help farmers produce enough corn, the congress passed a bill for three billion dollars corn subsidy. Now few decades later, the corn subsidy has gone up to eight billion dollars. Within few years of subsidy from the government, the farmers were producing a lot more corn than the public consumption.
The farmers were aware that the subsidy law had certain parameters and requirements in order to receive billions of dollars. They knew that their production levels had to be based on 1980s shortage requirements. Therefore the farmers decided to exploit the 1980s crisis and produce more corn in order to retain their subsidy.
The farmers figured out that they can extract sugar from corn and keep it for 6 to 9 month and even a year. Then they discovered that kind of storage facility was too expensive and since it only lasted a year, it wasn’t that cost effective. So they came up with a new treatment where the corn is turned into corn syrup. So they artificially started controlling the demand and supply of corn by converting the excess amount of corn production into corn syrup. Corn syrup is basically only MASS and nothing else but they could keep it up to 12 years, keep their subsidy and reduce their costs effectively.
Then all the food manufactures found out that they could use corn syrup instead of sugar because it had a lot of mass and it was certainly cheaper than sugar. Today when you walk into a supermarket you have the illusion that you have many choices, until you read the products label and then you realize that most of the processed food are rearrangement of corn. Corn can be found under different names such as corn oil, vegetable oil, corn syrup, corn meal, cornstarch, corn sugar (glucose, puretose, dyno, dextrose) used in breakfast cereals, corn chips, corn fritters and corn tortillas.
Corn syrup can be even found in peanut butter, hams, hot dogs, pork or sausages, deep fried foods such as fried potato or rice (with corn oil), chili, canned vegetables or commercial soups, fish sticks, American cheese and yogurt, salad dressings, soy milks, chocolate milks, eggnog, English muffins, tacos, gravy (usually made with corn starch), most of ice creams, American whiskey, gin, beer, ale and wine, sodas like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, crackers, pancake syrups, instant coffees, powdered sugar, jams, candies, sauces like catch up, baking powder and even some toothpastes.
Today although we are making 3 times as much as people consume, corn farmers are still getting subsidy and although the FDA claims that high Fructose Corn Syrup has GRAS (Generally regarded As Safe) status, the reality is that high fructose corn syrup is a toxin and the root of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other health problems. But it's certainly cheap and consumed by us in almost every processed food in America!