Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Scott Albanese tour the Albanese Confectionery Group. Photo provided.

The Coalition for Sugar Reform and U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), made a stop at the Albanese Confectionery Group in Indiana Tuesday hoping to raise awareness of the U.S. sugar program.

Lugar met with about 60 people at the plant, including members of the media, Albanese employees, and about 25 constituents.

"The high cost of sugar has a significant impact on small businesses and confectioners across Indiana – and across the country,” says Bethany Albanese, marketing manager and retail store director for Albanese Confectionery. “Companies like mine are fighting to stay competitive with candy makers outside the U.S. who can buy sugar for nearly half the price.”

The current U.S. sugar policy has contributed to the loss of an estimated 112,000 jobs in American sugar-using industries between 1997 and 2009 alone, U.S. Department of Commerce data shows.

The Coalition would like to see reforms made to the pricing methods for sugar in the United States, where it currently is subject to price controls, tariffs and import quotas.

“The price of sugar affects food and beverage costs for all Americans, as small businesses and confectioners are forced to raise prices for items such as bread, tomato sauce, peanut butter, and other common foods that contain sugar,” Lugar says. “Every time Hoosiers see sugar listed as an ingredient on their food labels, they should know that are paying more than they should because of the federal government’s sugar policy.”

Senator Lugar has long advocated for reform of the U.S. sugar program.

“Sugar producers argue that it’s ‘no cost’ because they don’t receive direct payments,” he explains. “Instead, businesses and consumers bear the burden for this welfare system - as much as $4 billion a year in higher costs, according to a recent estimate.”

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