Guest blog by Wolfram Alderson, Institute for Responsible Nutrition
Big Sugar Summit in Florida
Posted by Wolfram Alderson605.20sc on June 20, 2015
It was an honor to be invited to speak at the Sierra Club Big Sugar Summit in Florida, June 20, 2015. Over 300 people attended the event in West Palm Beach, demonstrating that many Floridians are committed to fighting what Big Sugar is doing to the Everglades and to reigning in Florida's shadow government influenced by sugar interests. I'm grateful to Alan Farago, President of Friends of the Everglades for making the introduction to the great team at Sierra Club Florida, and the dynamo lead organizer behind the conference, Cris Costello.
The agenda was packed with great speakers from as far away as Brazil. I really enjoyed hearing some of the intriguing history of Big Sugar presented by Dr. Gail Hollander, author of Raising Cane in the Glades." Stephen Davis, Wetlands Ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, walked through some of the devastating impacts that Sugar Cane is having on the Everglades ecosystems.
David Guest, Lawyer for Earth Justice, talked about how Big Sugar is getting big welfare from the U.S. taxpayers who subsidize the sugar industry. According a to a brief prepared by Mr. Guest and Earth Justice, the hyper-inflated U.S. sugar price is ultimately paid by consumers. Big Sugar in Florida has been figuring out ways to fleece the American public for over a century.
"In 2014, the U.S. raw sugar price was 24.15 cents per pound versus 16.34 cents per pound in the world market. With 1.5 million tons of sugar produced by Florida sugar cane each year, the sugar industry in the EAA annually pockets an additional $234 million dollars from U.S. consumers, and Okeelanta takes home $92 million of it. In other words, instead of receiving $326 per ton of raw sugar like the rest of the world, they receive $483 per ton, with U.S. consumers paying roughly 50% more for their sugar."
Another highlight was hearing from Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics. This is a great organization that follows the money, and reports on how it influences politics and policy, Their researchers, reporters and technology experts provide unadulterated facts about where the money is coming from and going in Washington.
Here is one of her slides that peals back the curtain of influence of the Sugar lobby. This is a political force that knows how to buy influence and subvert the will (economy and health) of the American People.
That's a lot of money getting thrown around to protect sugar interests!
I am grateful for the positive responses I received to my talk on the nutritional aspects of sugar (or lack thereof!). I tweeted throughout the event - just enter the hashtag #BigSugarSummit on Twitter and you should be able to find all my tweets covering the event - plus others.