Iowa Corn Growers Association not happy with new HyVee initiative

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Hy-Vee recently announced a new initiative called Clean Honest Ingredients to remove additives, artificial flavors and colors from food, but Iowa Corn is upset over its implication that high fructose corn syrup is an artificial ingredient, saying the “deceptive information” is damaging to corn farmers.

Last week, Hy-Vee sent out a press release saying 1,000 Hy-Vee brand products that do not contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or synthetic chemicals, are getting the new Clean Honest Ingredients logo printed on its packaging.

“When we saw the Hy-Vee campaign, it was very disheartening to see high fructose corn syrup at the top of the list because we believe that’s not clean and honest,” said Craig Floss, CEO of Iowa Corn Growers Association. “In fact, it’s very unclean and dishonest.”

The full list of 200 artificial ingredients or synthetic chemicals is published on Hy-Vee’s website, which includes high fructose corn syrup.

“High fructose corn syrup is a natural sweetener,” Floss said. “There are no additives. It’s not artificial in any way. It is a processed sweetener, just like regular table sugar.”

Iowa Corn wrote a letter to Hy-Vee CEO Randall Edeker, saying in part, “As a home-grown, Iowa-based company in the top corn producing state, we are highly disappointed and frustrated with this incorrect and deceptive information.”

Hy-Vee responded Wednesday night, saying in part, "In the future, we may eliminate artificial ingredients or synthetic chemicals from products, but high fructose corn syrup does not fall into either category.”

Hy-Vee corrected its website to read that Hy-Vee label food items that do not contain artificial ingredients, synthetic chemicals or high fructose corn syrup will get a new look, which removes the implication that high fructose corn syrup is an artificial ingredient.

Even though Hy-Vee clarified that high fructose corn syrup is not an artificial ingredient or synthetic chemical, Iowa Corn is upset that it's on the list, period. They said high fructose corn syrup is a clean, honest ingredient.