Sugar Suit Goes Forward

Oct 24, 2011

Boise, ID - We’ve been following a lawsuit between big sugar and big corn. Friday a federal judge ruled that case can move forward. Idaho’s Amalgamated Sugar and several other sugar producers say corn refiners are using false advertising in a campaign for high fructose corn syrup. But  it’s not all good news for the sugar side.

Adam Fox says he and his clients, Amalgamated Sugar among them, are celebrating. That’s after a judge in Los Angeles tossed out an attempt to block their case. But the judge did have doubts about one aspect of the case. Fox can go ahead and sue the trade group the Corn Refiners Association but not the members. To do that they need to show the members were involved with the high fructose corn syrup ad campaign.

Adam Fox “That there was a relationship of control over the corn refiners association in order to bring companies like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill into the litigation.”

The court did give the sugar growers a chance to amend their complaint. They have until mid-November to show why they should be allowed to sue individual corn refiners. That’s important to the sugar growers because that’s where the money is.

Adam Fox “If we are to engage in any corrective advertising or if we’re able to get a damages award we need to be able to get those resources somewhere. If the Corn Refiners Association doesn’t have that money, we need to get to the individuals or companies that funded the Corn Refiners Association.”

The amount of damages involved would be determined if the case goes to trial. The Corn Refiners responded to our interview requests with a written statement. In it they call their advertising on high fructose corn syrup an educational campaign and say it is based on science.