Privatisation of sugar factories harmful to both economy and health

​Turkey's AKP government is determined to privatise sugar factories and increase the quota on starch-based sugar despite warnings of health specialists regarding starch-based sugar and the struggle of workers against the privatisation of the factories
Wednesday, 14 March 2018 16:34

Turkey's AKP government has been working on the details of the privatisation process of sugar factories around Turkey. AKP government declared at the end of February that 14 sugar factories around Turkey are to be privatised since they do not make profit. Since then, sugar factory workers are on the protest, but the government is determined to finalise privatisation process. However, health specialists and food engineers warn about the dangers of the starch-based sugar that will substantially replace sugar from beet when the factories are closed.


Uğur Toprak, the chairperson of the Union of Food Engineers İzmir branch, warned about the threats of starch-based sugar to human health, increasing the risk of various types of cancer, mainly colon and breast cancer.

Adding "Starch-based sugar is damaging not only our health but also our economy", Toprak noted that the quota of starch-based sugar has been on the rise in Turkey although decreasing around the EU and the world.

Toprak also noted that the share of US-based company Cargill, which holds 90 percent share of the whole starch-based sugar industry, has risen in Turkey in recent years, and that's why the profit of sugar factories making production from sugar beet has decreased dramatically. He commented that the production of what he calls "starch-based sugar lobby" continues unsupervised since Turkish Sugar Board, which announces and allocates annual production quotas to the existing producers, has been idle since 2016.

Toprak added that Turkey, by privatising sugar factories, gives up 3 million tons of sugar production and 100 thousand sugar beet farmers, which will also badly influence animal husbandry making use of beet pulps.


Even the Ministry of Health of the ruling AKP government published a report on the effects of starch-based sugar. The report noted that the increasing problem of obesity is directly related to starch-based sugar, referring to recent scientific researches.

The report revealed that in addition to obesity, consumption of starch-based sugar also causes the development of hepatic lipidosis, fibrosis and cirrhosis, increasing the risk of various types of cancer, mainly colon and breast cancer.