In Letter to Administration, Shaheen Encourages Action to Improve Domestic Supplies of Sugar to Cut Costs of Food & Beverages for Americans

August 17, 2022

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to the Biden administration today, urging meaningful action to improve domestic supplies of sugar to help bring down the cost of food and beverage products for American consumers. 

Shaheen wrote, in part, “American businesses and families are facing supply chain bottlenecks and high food costs for a wide variety of products. Food and beverage manufacturers are grappling with supply chain problems caused by many different challenges...However, unlike other products with supply chains facing a complex range of challenging factors, the current sugar supply chain crisis has been directly created by U.S. government policy.” 

In her letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack, Shaheen explained that U.S. policy limits the number of available foreign trading partners from which sugar can be imported and restricts the levels of sugar they can import under annual quotas. Shaheen went on to explain that domestic supply is further constrained through marketing allotments imposed by the USDA. These and other federal policies ensure that prices for sugar in the United States are consistently higher than world prices, with current price points sitting far above elevated historic levels. With both domestic and foreign sugar supply intentionally restricted by the federal government, Shaheen explained that federal policy is responsible for the current sugar supply chain bottlenecks in the United States.  

Senator Shaheen went on to highlight immediate steps the administration can take and also argued for the urgent need for Congress to address sugar policies in the next Farm Bill to get at the root of the issue. As the lead sponsor of the Fair Sugar Policy Act of 2021, Shaheen noted that her bipartisan legislation would make much-needed commonsense reforms to federal sugar policies.  

Her letter can be read in full here. 

Shaheen leads action in the U.S. Senate to make overdue sugar policy reform. Sugar was the only commodity whose federal support program was not reformed in five-year reauthorizations of agricultural programs, neither in the 2014 nor the 2018 Farm Bills. Senator Shaheen has a history of working across the aisle to fight for reform to the sugar program, both through previous amendments to the Farm Bill and through bipartisan legislation with Senator Toomey (R-PA) to roll back these unnecessary provisions that unfairly benefit a small group of sugar producers and processors at the expense of consumers and other businesses.