Major Candy Manufacturer Dumps Sugar Beets Due to GMO Concerns


Hersey Co., recently announced that it will now source all its sugar from cane sugar, and no longer use sugar beet sugar due to consumer concerns about genetically modified foods.  While Hersey currently is the only major candy manufacturer to make this move, the sugar beet industry is concerned.  

Currently almost 55{257ecae47c7fec349321aca28547072fa2160c1991a573be7695613338f0f130} of domestic U.S. sugar is produced from sugar beets, and nearly 100{257ecae47c7fec349321aca28547072fa2160c1991a573be7695613338f0f130} of those sugar beets are genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate.  Minnesota ranks first in national sugar beet production, followed by North Dakota, Idaho, Michigan and Montana.

According to the Star Tribune ( Dean Bangsund, an economist at North Dakota State University, said the beet sugar industry generates nearly $5 billion annually in total economic activity in Minnesota and North Dakota, but it can’t afford to lose too many customers.

“If it’s just one domestic consumer, maybe there’s ways around that,” he said, but there’s reason to worry if rejecting beet sugar becomes a consumer trend.

“If the industry is forced to cut back production because it can’t find a market for its sugar, the economic effect would flow back through all stages of production here in the [Red River] Valley,” Bangsund said, affecting jobs of those who grow, process, transport, package and sell the sugar.


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Source:  Star Tribune

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