he American Sugar Alliance said that economic experts at the USDA sharply criticized the method and findings of a new U.S. General Accounting Office report on U.S. sugar policy.
USDA's exhaustive 12-page rebuttal is included in the GAO's report, released today, "Sugar Program: Supporting Producer Prices Has Increased Users' Costs While Benefiting Producers." The GAO report was requested by three Members of Congress who are ardent foes of American sugar growers and are sympathetic to the views of industrial food manufacturers and retailers who oppose U.S sugar policy.
USDA said it had "serious concerns" about the GAO report it reviewed, which USDA said "suffers in a number of regards relative to both the analytical approach and.the resulting conclusions." USDA concluded: "GAO has not attempted to realistically model the U.S. sugar industry. The validity of the results are, therefore, suspect and should not be quoted authoritatively."
Luther Markwart of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association commented: "Anyone looking to this GAO report for insight regarding the U.S. or world sugar economy can save themselves some time and just go straight to the USDA's devastating rebuttal. The report's authors, and anyone quoting this report's absurd findings as a sound measure of the value of U.S. sugar policy, should be ashamed of themselves."