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Happy Valentine’s says the NCA… Let’s celebrate by reforming the sugar regime…

By Elaine WATSON , 14-Feb-2013
Last updated the 14-Feb-2013 at 23:49 GMT

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) celebrated Valentine's Day with a renewed push for reform of the sugar regime.

Chairman Larry Graham drive the association's candy-covered car up to Capitol Hill to distribute Valentine's Day candy and advocacy cards to House and Senate offices.

The valentine urges Members to support the Sugar Reform Act , which has been re-introduced this week by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) along with Congressmen Joe Pitts (R-PA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Danny Davis (D-IL).

The Act, which almost cleared the Senate last summer during debate over the Senate’s Farm Bill, proposes reforming domestic supply restrictions and lowering price support levels, “rolling back unnecessary provisions added in 2008 that unfairly benefit wealthy sugar farmers at the expense of consumers”, claims the NCA.

The legislation introduced in both chambers of Congress calls for the repeal of trade restrictions preventing the Secretary of Agriculture from allowing additional sugar imports when needed and the Feedstock Flexibility Program, which requires the government to buy surplus sugar and sell it to ethanol companies at a loss. It also calls for reform of domestic supply restrictions, granting the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to modify or suspend domestic marketing allotments, and providing more flexibility for USDA in administering the import quota system, said Graham.

The Sugar Reform Act

While US refined sugar prices have dropped since last summer and sugar producers claim the nation is “swimming in sugar”, food manufacturers argue prices are still “far above historical norms ­and about 30% higher than the world market”.

The Coalition for Sugar Reform , an alliance of food and beverage manufacturers and other groups claims the sugar program - enshrined in the soon-to-be-revised 2008 Farm Bill - has reduced access to imports and distorted markets, causing sugar prices to spike to record highs in 2010 and 2011.

Ironically, artificially high prices have in turn created an incentive for domestic growers to expand production to such an extent the government may now have to use taxpayers’ money to buy the surplus, it claims.

However, sugar producers claim food manufacturers pay less for sugar than counterparts in other developed countries, and have grown sales during the recession.

Click here to read the text of the Sugar Reform Act. 

Meanwhile, open innovation expert NineSigma  celebrated Valentine’s with the release of the infographic below.

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