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Could America Be Facing a Sugar Shortage?

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?

Image Source: Getty
Michelann Michelann 8 years
These insane restrictions on sugar importation are the exact reason everything (all of our sodas and sweets) is made with high fructose corn syrup these days! It's maddening.
luckykarma luckykarma 8 years
I don't think I would do well without sugar.
kia kia 8 years
I raged about this on my blog earlier ( I am allergic to sugar cane and even though we use a lot of HFCS sugar cane is still in A LOT of our food. This is so messed up. First, 10 million tons of sugar per year for 300 million people... that is not all going into candy. Second, if we are concerned about food production screeching to a halt if there is a lack of sugar we need to re-evaluate our food production system. Third, when we convert a product from a food economy to a fuel economy then it will obviously cost more to continue eating it. Fourth, we should support domestic sugar production since we can at least keep an eye on the industry.
prencesschris prencesschris 8 years
oh nooo but i love sugar !
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I don't think it'd be a bad thing for food manufacturers to reformulate their recipes to lower or eliminate the amount of corn syrup in their products. They put it in a lot of foods to make them more "palatable"...I personally wouldn't mind my food being less sweet.
noxcatt noxcatt 8 years
i dont see why we should worry everything is f-ing made with high fructose corn syrup anyway, suddenly we are panicing?
hanmeng hanmeng 8 years
I not only feel Americans eat more sugar than is healthy, most commercial cakes, cookies and candies are too sweet for me. But the government has no reason to enrich farmers out the pockets of consumers.
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