Sunday, November 15, 2009

HFCS: World Domination?

On a recent work trip to Bogota, Colombia, I caught a glimpse of a symbolic representation of corn that would have an eerie significance for my travels.  (please note, the above image was actually taken in Atlanta's airport as i awaited my connecting flight to Bogota.)

In perusing grocery store (or is it super market?) aisles in two Bogota chains, i was surprised to find what appeared to be HFCS in several items.  Ok, so it wasn't so surprising that Smuckers products contained HFCS ("it's got to be good," right? the ingredient listed was Jarabe de maĆ­z alto en fructosa,) but there were other items, not all imported, with Glucosa de Maiz, etc.  Is Glucosa de Maiz HFCS?  Not sure, but it's pretty clear that Jarabe de blah blah is.  Why was i surprised?  With earlier reporting on Mexico and the widespeared rejection of HFCS in Mexican Coca Cola, as well as some comments made by people i met about the fact that Bogota's locals wouldn't abide by unnatural chemical sweetener crap, i just assumed the products would be safe (i.e. not contain HFCS.)  With the exception of Isoglucose in the UK, i typically assume that when i am traveling outside the US items are safe unless imported (from the US, of course).  Now i see that it's not so simple.

When i was on travel in other countries it was always such a wonderful experience of freedom NOT to have to stare at labels before knowing a given item wouldn't make me sick.  Whereas in the US, i have to scrutinize labels and ask at restaurants about ingredients, in other countries, i could eat with abandon!  Sadly, that is no longer the case, apparently.

In closing, the Coca Cola in Bogota was HFCS free and also quite tasty (the first ingredient listed below is carbonated water, followed by Azucar... nice, simple, and straight forward sugar!)

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