Washington — From the c-suite to the plant floor, candymakers across the country are calling for Congress to modernization the U.S. sugar program. Three videos from West Coast confectioners highlight how the program affects their livelihoods and puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage, reports the Alliance for Fair Sugar Policy (AFSP).
“Anything you buy in the U.S. made with sugar, you are paying an unnecessarily high price for,” said John Brooks, Jr., COO of Adams & Brooks, Inc. from the company’s San Bernardino, CA, headquarters. “One way to look at this policy is that it’s a tax on consumers. And why? So that a small well-connected segment of our population and our economy can have what is essentially a riskless business venture.”
In another video, an employee of Oakdale, CA-based Sconza Chocolates related the importance his workplace has on the local community. “I think it is very important for a small town, a small community like the one we have here, that they have a production plant like this where people can come in and have a career, grow inside that career, and have a future,” said Scona operations employee Eddie.
Pierson Clair, CEO of Washington State’s Brown & Haley, noted the current sugar program’s artificially inflated costs, nearly twice the world average, has hindered the company’s ability to invest more in equipment and employees.
“The system does not allow for the typical kind of growth that would normally happen in the economy of the United States because the system is fundamentally broken,” Clair said in a video. “And it is broken by legislation so you can’t repair it, unless Congress comes to a moment in time that says ‘it’s time to end this 90-year-old system that makes no sense anymore.”
That time Clair alluded to might be nearing as Congress prepares for the upcoming Farm Bill and bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both chambers to address the program. The Sugar Policy Modernization Act (H.R. 4265 / SB. 2086) would reform the outdated sugar program by creating an “adequate supply of sugar based on a reasonable competitive approach that reaches from the farm to the retail shelf — without risking an appropriate safety net for farmers,” according to AFSP.
To learn more about how the current sugar program is impacting companies across the country, watch the AFSP video series.