Archer-Daniels Midland Co. and four other corn refiners have asked a judge to dismiss them from a lawsuit by sugar producers over allegedly false advertising that high-fructose corn syrup is natural, saying that they can't be made liable for the statements of the Corn Refiners Association, the trade group of which they are members.

A group of sugar growers and refiners sued the corn refiners and the association in 2011, claiming that an advertising campaign that promotes high-fructose corn syrup as “natural” and “nutritionally the same as table sugar” is false and misleading. The sugar producers, in an amended complaint, said the corn refiners initiated the advertising campaign in 2008 in response to the “growing vilification” of high-fructose corn syrup and a “resulting drop in sales.”

The case is Western Sugar v. Archer-Daniels-Midland, 11- 3473, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).