Corn refiners group hires CRC to fight obesity claims

WASHINGTON: The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has retained Creative Response Concepts (CRC) to help battle growing accusations that it?s a major contributor to the obesity problem in the US.

WASHINGTON: The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has retained Creative Response Concepts (CRC) to help battle growing accusations that it?s a major contributor to the obesity problem in the US.

Critics and health analysts have recently cited high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), an inexpensive sweetener used in sodas and other foods, as one of the more insidious causes of weight gain in the US. HFCS accounts for the lion?s share of business for CRA members.

CRC, a Virginia-based media relations firm with strong ties to the Republican party, was brought on board last month to present the other side of the story to the media.

?In the aftermath of the tobacco battle, trial lawyers are looking for an industry du jour to be another cash cow,? said SVP Keith Appell. ?Stories get fed to the media that sound very credible and that make an industry look like a pariah, but it is completely the opposite with the people who produce HFCS.?

CRC was brought on board in time for a three-day obesity summit co-sponsored by ABC News and Time magazine earlier this month at which HFCS was an expected target. Instead, Appell said that his agency?s discussions with panelists and reporters helped to scale back its inclusion.

?One fact we are finding that particularly resonates with the media is that countries such as Russia and Mexico have rapidly rising rates of obesity but do not even use HFCS because of tariffs and trade policies,? added Appell.

CRC and CRA have more fights ahead of them, however. Coca-Cola?s new low-carb soda, C2, replaces large amounts of HFCS with alternative sweeteners ? a fact the beverage giant is pushing as one of its main selling points.

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