Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And now for a definition of HFCS from the Corn Refiners Assiciation

This definition or "classification," provided by Corn Refiners Association on page 6 of their 2006 report, "Nutritive Sweeteners From Corn,"certainly makes HFCS sound appetizing, doesn't it?
High Fructose Corn Syrup is a purified concentrated aqueous solution of nutritive saccharides obtained from edible starch in which a portion of the dextrose has been isomerized to fructose. It contains a minimum 42 percent fructose on a dry basis.
And on pages 19-20, the report contains a description of the manufacturing process of HFCS. 
In the manufacture of high fructose corn syrup, dextrose solutions or high DE substrates produced by dual enzyme processes (α-amy- lase plus glucoamylase or α- amylase plus glucoamylase/ pullulanase) are refined by carbon and ion-exchange systems and further treated enzymatically with a purified isomerase. The isomerase reactors use an immobilized enzyme system enabling continuous isomerization and extending the life of the enzymes. Isomerization is usually carried to a point where the substrate contains 42 percent fructose. Following this step the product is refined again through carbon and ion exchange systems and is evaporated to a dry substance of 71 percent.
In the production of syrups with a fructose level above 50 percent, the original 42 percent fructose feedstock is passed through separation (fractionation) columns that retain fructose while allowing dextrose to pass through the column. This is made possible because of the natural affinity of fructose for divalent calcium immobilized on the column. Fructose retained in these columns is flushed from the system with deionized water, while the dextrose is recirculated for further isomerization. Continuous systems relying on a simulated moving bed model are utilized for this separation process. The enriched fructose fraction is generally recovered at an 80 to 95 percent purity. This product is blended with the 42 percent fructose feedstock to produce a commercial product with 55 percent fructose content. After blending, the syrup is refined again with both carbon and ion exchange systems and is evaporated to a dry solids level of 77 percent. The enriched fructose fraction may also be refined and evaporated separately for sale to users who desire a product with very high fructose content.
From my perspective, it's truly interesting to read the above descriptions carefully.  The intended audience for this report appears to be the users of HFCS rather than consumers.  Words like "feedstock" and expressions such as "enriched fructose fraction" just don't seem to inspire me to want to chow down on HFCS-laden products.   Do the consumers know if the HFCS they are eating has a "very high fructose content"?  No.  HFCS is HFCS.  Whether you, as the consumer, are getting HFCS-42 or HFCS-55 of HFCS-90 or whatever, you will simply not be able to discern.

Oh, and then there's the cover image (above).  Yummmmmmmm.....

Remember: according to Audrae Erickson, it's all natural.  She can prove it too: the FDA says so.  HFCS is regarded by the FDA as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).  Maybe I am just being picky, but "generally" doesn't inspire me with confidence...  Maybe I need to research this a bit more and do another post on GRAS as a designation....

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