Among the tens of thousands of documents reportedly made public in advance of a hearing in litigation pitting the sugar industry against compa- nies that make high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are emails that purportedly show some HFCS company executives were concerned about rebranding and advertising the substance as “natural” and “nutritionally the same as sugar.” Some apparently suggested that it made the industry appear disingenuous and could invite litigation.

According to an attorney representing the HFCS manufacturers, the emails simply reflect a healthy debate. He reportedly said, “What the emails clearly show is the corn refiners engaged in a rigorous internal discussion about the public relations aspects of what HFCS is called, while never wavering in their core belief that high fructose corn syrup is both natural and nutritionally equivalent to sugar.”

Another email authored in April 2009 by the then-president of the Corn Refiners Association reportedly defended the campaign but said that the trade association’s “sponsorship of this campaign (should) remain confiden- tial.” See NBCNews.com, January 24, 2014.