Fifty pound bags of sugar are on display at a Costco store in Tucson, Ariz.
Fifty pound bags of sugar are on display at a Costco store in Tucson, Ariz. - 
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Bill Radke: Big names in the food industry are calling on Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to help with what they call a pending sugar shortage. Here's reporter Tamara Keith.

Tamara Keith: Names like Krispy Kreme, Hershey and the American Baker's Association want to make sure we can all keep getting sugar highs without paying higher prices. In a letter sent to the agriculture secretary, they say consumers will pay more and manufacturing jobs will be at risk without prompt action. They want the government to allow more foreign sugar imports. Robb MacKie is president and CEO of the Baker's association.

Robb Mackie: The sugar market in the United States is not a free market. It's artificially supported or shall I say, artificially sweetened by federal sugar policies.

Those policies inflate U.S. sugar prices to help farmers. That's why Jack Roney the chief economist at the American Sugar Alliance thinks this is more about pricing that an actual sugar shortage.

JACK RONEY: The amount of surplus left over at the end of this year is over 11 percent and that is certainly adequate.

It seems sorting through this fight could put the USDA in a sticky situation.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.