Friday, June 4, 2010

Chinese HFCS?

In the flurry of news stories about the poor U.S. corn farmers and how this shift a handful of manufacturers have made away from HFCS has affected them, one has to wonder about America's most prolific crop.... Corn.  For a variety of historical and political reasons, much of the cane sugar used in this country is imported.  Is it then more patriotic to use HFCS?

Well, wait a second, where exactly does our HFCS come from?

Turns out that's not such an easy question to answer. (source)

On the one hand, we know that Cargill and ADM are heavily invested and involved in HFCS production.  U.S. companies, right?  Yes of course.

Well, why (and this is not a rhetorical question) does list 453 "supplier locations" in China for High Fructose Corn Syrup, while only 11 are in the U.S.    I would not suggest that this information actually fully answers the question.  But it certainly makes one wonder....

Seriously, where is U.S. HFCS produced?  If not China, then where?

So, instead of looking at the various global exporter sites (such as Alibaba), how about going to Cargill and ADM directly?  Well, here's what I found:

So, what's the situation, then?  I do not suggest that all HFCS produced by Cargill and ADM is made at Chinese facilities, but some of it certainly is.  And some HFCS is produced in China by Chinese companies (as well as in Syria, India, etc.)  How do you know if the HFCS in a given product comes from a plant in China (or Syria or wherever)?

"It also provides the same taste as sucrose but in lower calories which is the reason why it is being used in diet products Also it provides the smooth texture for ice cream and sweets. Also it absorbs the moist and suppresses germs activity which in turn keeps pastries fresh." (source)


Back to Chinese HFCS...

China seems to be trending up in terms of the tons (yes tons) of Corn imported from the U.S. See also China corn processors to become 'global players'

Mmm... yummy.... "8,000 M/Ts per month" of HFCS-55.... (source)


Given all the recalls and concerns about Chinese products, how should we feel about Chinese manufactured HFCS?   What are the production standards? How is it stored?  There are well known health issues resulting from different storage standards.  How do we know what we are eating and what standards were met in the production/storage etc?

Can HFCS even be considered an American product?


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