American Sugar Alliance, WASHINGTON—Refined Mexican sugar that was not fit for human consumption could have found its way into trick-or-treaters’ bags this Halloween if not for strict U.S. quality controls.
“Thank goodness American candy companies and American sugar producers adhere to the highest food safety standards in the world,” said Dalton Yancey, chairman of the American Sugar Alliance. “Candy companies were able to identify the problem, and U.S. sugar companies were able to clean the dirty Mexican sugar before it ever found its way into chocolate bars or candy corn.”
Much of the Mexican sugar imported earlier this year arrived in burlap sacks, which left fibers in the sugar. Antiquated machinery in Mexican refineries mixed metal grindings with the product. And on the long boat ride from Mexico, organic waste infested the sugar that was supposed to be ready-to-eat upon arrival.
U.S. sugar refineries re-refined the Mexican sugar to cleanse the impurities. This extra refining step increased costs and slowed delivery to food manufacturers.
American industrial sugar users almost never import refined sugar from foreign countries because of quality and logistic nightmares, Yancey explained, but last year’s hurricanes temporarily interrupted domestic shipments.
“American food manufacturers saw firsthand just how vital a strong and vibrant U.S. sugar industry is to their business,” said Yancey. “American consumers demand the best, and imports of refined sugar don’t pass the test.”
America’s sugar producers argue that extending the current sugar policy is the best way that Congress can ensure high-quality homegrown sugar will be available for years to come.
Yancey concluded: “Without our current no-cost policy, dirty Mexican sugar could become the norm, not a brief one-time event that came on the heels of the biggest hurricane season to ever befall our country.”
U.S. sugar policy is the only major agricultural program that operates at no cost to taxpayers. Its advocates also point out that the program helps generate stable and affordable prices for grocery shoppers while strengthening the country’s food security.