If you've got a sweet tooth, you may be forced to reckon with a bitter truth. In a letter sent to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, several of the country's largest food companies, including General Mills, Kraft, Hershey, and Mars, said the United States could "virtually run out of sugar" if the government doesn't let up on sugar import limits.
To keep prices within reason for domestic sugar farmers, the government only allows unlimited sugar imports from the Mexican market without paying tariffs. Global shortages of the commodity have led to a skyrocket in price, culminating in a 28-year high this week. Sugar purchased from other countries, such as Brazil, is limited by a quota. If those restrictions aren't eased, food manufacturers say they'd be forced to hike prices, slash jobs — and run out of sugar to make items such as cereal, cookies, and chocolate. However, the USDA appears to be taking this plea with a grain of sugar, claiming early this week that domestic supplies were increasing.
With opposing interests, it's hard to know what to think. Who do you believe — and would America be better off with less sugar?