WASHINGTON—Every Capitol Hill office today received a personalized replica of a 1940s-era sugar rationing coupon, compliments of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA). The delivery, which comes in the middle of Farm Bill deliberations, is intended to remind lawmakers about the consequences of again becoming dependent on foreign sugar supplies.
“Dependence on foreign sugar led to rationing during World War II. Don’t make the same mistake again by outsourcing our sugar production,” warned the mailer.
ASA Chairman Ryan Weston explained that sugar’s importance and scarcity led to the staple crop becoming the first commodity rationed in May 1942. Sugar – which, in addition to being found in snacks and beverages, is also prevalent in bread, yogurt, cereal and other foods – was also the last commodity removed from the rationing list in 1947.
“This foreign dependence is why we have a sugar policy today,” he said. “America needs a reliable and stable homegrown supply.”
That reliable supply could be jeopardized if amendments are passed during the Farm Bill that weaken sugar policy, Weston noted.
“Opponents of sugar policy are angling to gut sugar policy, which would flood the U.S. market with unneeded subsidized imports and leave us reliant on foreign suppliers,” he explained. “Europe showed us how bad of a decision that would be.”
In 2006, the European Union (EU) rewrote its sugar laws in favor of more imports. After a flood of subsidized sugar from Brazil and other countries arrived, Europe’s sugar industry was decimated. And when imports dried up because of bad weather and poor crops years later, massive sugar shortages plagued the EU and sent food prices skyrocketing.
Current sugar policy was continued in the Farm Bills approved last week by the Senate and House Agriculture Committees. Those bills now move to the floors of both chambers for consideration and ASA is urging lawmakers to reject any anti-sugar amendments.
For more information about the American Sugar Alliance and U.S. sugar policy, visit www.sugaralliance.org