Sugar refineries working overtime to process influx of imported product
After historic flooding in the Midwest devastated the sugar beet harvest last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce raised the cap on imports from Mexico to make up for our domestic shortage. But while the sugar influx was warmly welcomed by the baking and candy industries, it’s stretching processors thin. At Domino Foods’s sugar refinery in Baltimore, employees are voluntarily coming in every other weekend to work overtime, converting millions of pounds of raw sugar every day into the fine granules that end up in our grocery store aisles and kitchen cupboards.
One economist warns that this is far from a long-term solution: Equipment can wear quickly when overused, and the labor involved is an immense strain on employees working 12-day workweeks. Ultimately, the most sustainable solution may lie in policymakers’ willingness to tackle the climate crisis—which is, after all, the underlying cause of all the erratic weather uprooting agriculture.