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Regulatory Watch

May 13, 2004
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WTO will try to sweeten HFCS deal

The United States is taking its dispute with Mexico over soft drink sweeteners to the WTO. At the center of the dispute is Mexico's tax on soft drinks that contain sugar-substitutes, the most common of which is imported high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Mexico's sales and distribution tax amounts to 20%, making HFCS too expensive for ingredient use. Without HFCS, soda manufacturers are forced to increasingly use sugar from the Mexican cane industry.

On the defense against food suits

Congress has taken a significant step toward protecting the food industry from obesity-related litigation. The House has given approval to the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, which makes it more difficult to sue food manufacturers or providers when consumers gain weight after using their products.

"It is a timely and needed response to the threat of lawsuits seeking to pin the responsibility for obesity in this country on the food industry," said National Food Processors Association President John Cady.

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