Chief U.S. sugar lobbyist resigns amid crackdown on sweetener

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 13, 2016 11:48 AM

By Chris Prentice

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The head of the main U.S. sugar marketing lobby has resigned after nearly 13 years, leaving one of the most powerful industry groups in Washington with an interim leader at a time of growing public and government concern over the negative effects of excessive consumption.

Andrew Briscoe III resigned from his post as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sugar Association, the chief lobbying group that defends sugar marketing, according to a note sent to members of the industry seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The resignation came just a day after the latest crackdown in the battle in the so-called war on sugar, or what some critics call the other white drug. On Thursday, the U.S. government recommended for the first time people consume a specific limit of less than 10 percent of their calories from added sugar.

A spokeswoman for the Sugar Association confirmed the resignation but declined to comment further.

"As we begin a new year, it is an appropriate time for me to begin a new chapter," Briscoe said in the note dated Jan. 12, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

Briscoe has been a vehement defender of sugar against increasing criticism in recent years over sweeteners' ties to health epidemics like obesity and diabetes, lobbying government officials and penning numerous editorials saying there is no evidence that links added sugars with chronic diseases.

Briscoe was stepping down to pursue "new opportunities," the note said. He would be replaced on an interim basis by Courtney Gaine, the group's Vice President of Scientific Affairs.

He had previously been Director of Public Policy and Vice President of the Salt Institute.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Marguerita Choy)