Life is sweet enough!

I had a totally different post in mind today. But while strolling along, minding my own business, someone throws a challenge down! Yep.......... its time for the soapbox!

Ya all know that I like to can. And one of my favorite things to can is salsa. A couple of years ago, Honey and I ran out of salsa. We tried cheap salsa .... we tried expensive salsa. And literally, they all taste like sugar. No tangy spicy flavor-- no tomato taste -- no taste of onions and garlic -- no cilantro -- maybe a little pepper tang.

To quote Scarlett O'Hara ..... "As God is my witness, I will never run out of salsa again!!!"

So when the Freight House Farmers Market asked me (in connection with Buy Fresh, Buy Local) to do a salsa class ........ I jumped on the chance.

Our market friend and supporter, Brandy Welvaert, called me and we did a quick interview to promote the class in the local newspaper. All is good.

Until today ....... and I get this letter................

August 20, 2009

Ms. Cathy Lafrenz

27387 130th Ave

Donahue IA 52746

Dear Ms. Lafrenz:

We read the August 18 article “Summer in a jar: Learn to can your own salsas at the Freight House,” in the Moline Dispatch with interest, particularly the comment that “homemade salsas don't contain high-fructose corn syrup or added salt and sodium-based preservatives, which makes them better for people with diabetes and those watching their blood pressure.” There has been a lot of confusion about high fructose corn syrup. We would like to provide you with science-based information on this safe sweetener and be a reference for you for the future.

High fructose corn syrup, sugar, and several fruit juices are all nutritionally the same. High fructose corn syrup is simply a kind of corn sugar.

Like sugar, honey, and some fruit juices, high fructose corn syrup contains almost equal portions of fructose and glucose. As noted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996, “the saccharide composition (glucose to fructose ratio) of HFCS is approximately the same as that of honey, invert sugar and the disaccharide sucrose (or table sugar).” (61 Fed. Reg. 43447 (August 23, 1996), 21 C.F.R. 184.1866. Direct food substances affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe; High Fructose Corn Syrup - Final Rule.)

Dr. Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of “What to Eat” and “Food Politics” told the Spokesman ReviewHFCS is glucose and fructose separated. Table sugar is glucose and fructose stuck together, but quickly separated by digestive enzymes. … The body can hardly tell them apart.” (Lamberson C. January 2, 2008. “High-fructose corn syrup may be the next target” Spokesman Review.)

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), “high fructose corn syrup…is nutritionally equivalent to sucrose. Once absorbed into the blood stream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable.” The ADA also noted that “High fructose corn syrup…is nutritionally equivalent to sucrose. Both sweeteners contain the same number of calories (4 per gram) and consist of about equal parts of fructose and glucose.” (Hot Topics, “High Fructose Corn Syrup.” December 2008.

The American Medical Association stated that, “Because the composition of high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are so similar, particularly on absorption by the body, it appears unlikely that high fructose corn syrup contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose” (Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health a-08, June 2008.)

To read the latest research and learn more about high fructose corn syrup, please visit Please feel free to contact me if you would like additional information about the products made from corn.

Thank you for your consideration,

Audrae Erickson


Corn Refiners Association

Washington, DC

(202) 331-1634

Okey Dokey now.

And I am not the first blogger to get this type of letter from the Corn Refiners Association. This one is from 2005. And bloggers aren't the only target of the information correction campaign. Seriously, who could possibly be against healthy school lunches??? Well -- I guess healthy is fine as long as it contains lots of sugar!

So I am on someone else's radar. Seriously, is this little old lady in Iowa that is canning her own salsa without added-sweeteners a threat to the corn industry???? And isn't it scary that yogurt, catsup, spaghetti sauce etc etc have to have a sugar in it to be edible?? I don't know about your spaghetti sauce but mine is just yummy without some highly manufactured ingredient!

Wait till Erickson sees Food, Inc. That will keep the corn refiners busy!!!


Anonymous said…
Is there a mailing address - I want to send that woman an letter about my high blood pressure and explain in simple terms that anytime I eat high frutose corn syrup my blood pressure spikes. Thanks. ME
clink said…
Here you go........ Write away!!!!

Corn Refiners Association
1701 Pennsylvania Avenue
Suite 950
Washington, DC 20006

Phone: (202) 331-1634
Fax: (202) 331-2054
Farm-Raised said…
AHH!!! Seriously. Ah.
melanie said…
How about passing along a High-fructose corn syrup free salsa recipe so we can join the rebellion? I've been looking for a good one...
seanymph said…
I want them to explain why it seems to have to be in everything out there. Read Michael Pollens book the Omnivores Dilema and you wont ever eat again. The thing is the foods we make ourselves do not have all this stuff added unless you must have it for keeping it from when making jams and such. And perhaps thats why they use it in so many foods out there in the stores. But still.......I dont believe it HAS TO be in all those things either.
hiccupp said…
ugh...i hate HFCS. I hate that its in E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I hate that according to all of their 'claims' the only benefit is its cheaper than 'real' sugar. So why not just use real sugar? there HAS to be a *difference* between the two.

And you hit my recent biggest pet peeve. Everything is SO sweet anymore. I normally make my own spaghetti sauce (well, canned tomatoes, since I haven't had enough fresh) But haven't had the motivation lately. I probably look like a lunatic standing in front of the spaghetti sauces flipping jars over to see how many carbs/sugar are in each variety. And even then I get them home and just think they're SWEET.

Chocolate milk - sure it should be sweet, but its too sweet.
coffee creamers - same
yogurt - check
cereals - good lord

*sigh* sorry, here's your soapbox back ;)
Tammy said…
Could you possibly share your spaghetti sauce recipe? I have tomatoes coming on, and would like to be able to make some homemade spaghetti sauce for my Mom who has to really watch her sodium intake as well as the sugars.
Anonymous said…
Okay. Let's approach this in a logical way that maybe she can understand. The big mantra now is everything in moderation. If corn syrup and other refined sugars are in everything (which they are), how are we as the consumer supposed to eat them in moderation?

When my kids were little, 2 of the 3 were hyperactive. The diet we used to keep everyone "normal" didn't remove sugar or any of the other refined sweetners. The Iowa association found that if we used honey instead of other sweetners we could talk to our kids logically and they would understand, comprehend, and follow simple directions much better. If we used any of the refined sweetners, all logic went right out the window. A simple direction was difficult for them to follow until the culprit was out of their systems in about 1 weeks time. We had also eliminated any artificial ingredients and all refined or processed foods. Hyperactivity was not in our house as long as we watched what we ate. In order for the kids to understand, we said we had allergies to those foods. Our bodies did not like it when we ate them and let us know it.

Point being, not everyone's body processes foods the way science thinks food is processed. Each persons body has it's own little glitches that if we really looked at what we eat, we would find that many times it is one of our favorite foods that causes our bodies to react in a way that we just chalk up to age or that's life.

We are corn producers. Yes it is a good thing to find ways to market our product. But at what cost are we doing that when we refuse to listen to the other side of the argument, give them respect and acknowledge the fact that some people are "allergic" to the product we desparately want to market. The attack the the Corn Refiners Association is taking on every person who mutters and believes there is a connection between health issues in our families and country and HFCS tells me that they are in a panic mode. Instead they should be looking for other inventions for their product to be used in or for. Last I checked, we live in the USA and everyone has the right to an opinion and to choose how they life and what they eat, without being attacked by someone an office who has not experienced what other individuals have. I find the attack out of line and am ashamed to be associated with them as a corn producer. I hope our check off dollars are not paying her salary.
Congratulations! You have attracted the attention of those who put profit ahead of the health of our children. I didn't start out as a radical. Heck, I don't look like one now. I'm a frumpy, middle aged, Midwestern woman who designs embroideries for a living. The more I learn about our food delivery system the more disgusted I become. And yes, I make my own salsa. Let me give you a pat on the back as you begin to make history.

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