SAP to File Charges vs. Coke for HFCS Smuggling

The Sugar Alliance of the Philippines (SAP) will file charges of smuggling against Coca-Cola Femsa for allegedly pulling out High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from the Bureau of Customs without the sanction of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers’ Federation of the Philippines Inc.(UNIFED) yesterday said he will personally see to it that smuggling charges will be filed against beverage giant.

Lamata questioned the pulling out of the HFCS from the BOC when the SRA Sugar Order number 3 is in effect.

Under the Order, SRA is given the authority to release and use of the HFCS.

Lamata said the softdrink firm did not make good its promise that it will buy local sugar, adding that until now “they have not done so.”

As far as Pepsi Cola is concerned, Lamata said the firm has purchased 3 million bags out of its commitment of buying four million bags.

Out of the eight million bags of local sugar that Coca Cola has been using so far it has purchased one million.

Two years ago, Coca Cola has been using 10 percent HFSC and 90 percent local sugar now it has reversed the situation it is 90 percent HFCS and 10 percent local sugar, Lamata said.

The eight million bags would amount to billions of pesos, he also said, adding that “it means billions of pesos of losses to the sugar industry.”

The unregulated entry of HFCS into the country has been blamed by stakeholders of the sugar industry for the decrease of sugar prices in the domestic market.

The industry led by the SAP has launched an ongoing boycott of Coke products to pressure the firm to talk with the stakeholders.*(Eugene Y. Adiong)