Perhaps you’ve been following the dialogue I’ve been having with Therese Pompa, the social media manager for the Corn Refiners Association. We started speaking after I posted a Saturday Night Live video satirizing a high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) commercial, and then we subsequently exchanged a pair of letters. As you’ll see below in our second exchange of letters, I felt Therese was dodging my concerns about HFCS, and she in turn felt that I am “not trying to have a genuine conversation.”
So let’s have that conversation. Readers, please leave any comments, questions, or concerns below that you have about high fructose corn syrup. As always, please remain respectful and thoughtful in doing so. Therese, feel free to comment yourself, or ask people from your camp to contribute their ideas.
Earlier this week, after posting a “Saturday Night Live” skit that parodied the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup commercials (in which HFCS is presented as “basically equal to sugar” and “fine in moderation”), I was contacted on Twitter by Therese Pompa, the social media manager for the Corn Refiners Association. She sent links that, according to her, refuted my position that HFCS appears to be dangerous to our health and a contributor to America’s health crisis. I asked if she thought it was not disingenuous to have HFCS in salty foods, creating a wider reach for sugar that is essentially hidden in food. Our Twitter conversation is posted here. After the representative asked to speak more in-depth offline, I received this email:
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has an image problem. As this Saturday Night Live parody demonstrates, the HFCS industry has launched a series of commercials over the past year to clarify misconceptions and “state the facts about corn sugar.” That’s right, it’s no longer “high fructose corn syrup,” but “corn sugar”—an almost identical, warm-and-fuzzy twin that will subtly convince you that “sugar” and “corn sugar” are interchangeable ingredients. Wrong.
I have a love-hate relationship with San Diego. Maybe “hate” is too strong a word. I love the weather and natural beauty; I “regret” the lack of culture and good food. I have discussed this dilemma with many San Diegans—why is San Diego, the eighth largest city in the country, bigger than foodie playgrounds San Francisco and Seattle, so devoid of intellectual curiosity and an ambitious restaurant scene? The two go hand in hand, if you ask me. If you’re not curious about the outside world, and, let’s say, never travel to places other than Las Vegas (Disneyland for adults) or Hawaii (San Diego on steroids), how do you expect to compete as a cosmopolitan city if you don’t know what other cities have to offer? Hone your taste buds by eating a shrimp po’ boy on toasted buttery bread in New Orleans; or paper-thin egg pasta with Brussels sprouts and pancetta in North Beach, San Francisco; or Szechuan soup spiked with chili oil and scallions in Flushing, Queens; then tell me you don’t demand more from your chefs back home. I don’t blame it on the chefs either. Try making an inventive meal and having someone who thinks “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade” is tops push it around on her plate.