Re: Sugar Beets in Cattle Cars


Garth Groff and Sally Sanford <mallardlodge1000@...>
 

Ray and Friends,

To echo what Jerry said, I have been inside a sugar plant and saw how the refining process works. This was the C&H plant at Crockett, California, which processed cane sugar, but the process for beet sugar is similar. Essentially, the sugar source is ground to a pulp, which is then washed several times to remove all the possible sugar, and also to float off impurities. The solution is then boiled and centrifuged to kill any little beasties and remove any additional impurities. The sugar went through this process multiple times, so it was essentially sterilized several times during the process.

Now for Fun Part #1: C&H collected all the drips from their pipes in buckets, plus the mop water from cleaning the floors, and poured it back into the process. It was all pure in the end.

Fun Part #2: C&H also put up various types of raw and turbinado sugar for the health food trade. This was the same sugar, just not boiled and spun as many times. This left more molasses in the sugar, plus as the tour guide explained, a bit more dirt and rat droppings. All still sterilized though. Yum!

Fun Part #3: With cane sugar, including that grown and refiled in Louisiana and Texas, the crushed pulp (called bagasse) could be used as fuel to run the sugar mill, ground and returned to the fields as mulch, or  in later years sold as a by-product to be used as an industrial additive or for chemical extraction. (C&H received their sugar as syrup from Hawaii, delivered every two weeks by ship, so bagasse was not an issue here). Used pulp from beet sugar tended to pile up into large mountains. I used to work across the street from the Holly Sugar plant at Dyer (near Sant Ana, California). They had a huge mountain of this stuff that was daily sculpted by bulldozers. I was told the waste was loaded with toxins. I wonder what became of the piles when this plant closed.

Fun Part #4: Sugar used to be heavily subsidized by the government until price supports were removed by Congress in favor of the high-fructose corn syrup industry in the 1980s. Look at the previous list of plant closures, many of which happened at that time. Thanks to the subsidies, cheaper high-fructose corn syrup became the sweetener of choice for the soft drink industry (remember 'New Coke'?) and in processed foods.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff  🦆

On Mon, Oct 26, 2020 at 12:34 PM Jerry Michels <gjmichels53@...> wrote:
Wouldn't stock cars used for sugar beets and cabbage be cleaned out beforehand?  They were cleaned out after a cattle shipment.  Regarding sugar beets.  They are refined to such an extent that no contamination would remain.  It is a pretty neat process I saw at the Holly Sugar plant in Hereford, TX, before it closed.  Dirty beets go in, pure white sugar comes out.  Jerry Michels

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