ORANGE WALK TOWN, Orange Walk District, Thurs. July 14, 2016–Another crisis is fermenting around the sugar industry, and it involves the industry’s supply of molasses, which is derived after tons of sugar cane have been processed.
There are many ways in which molasses can be used, for example, in horticulture to feed microorganisms which improve the quality of soil, to make fertilizers and in the production of rum. As a result, molasses production, too, is a source of financial benefit to the north of the country.
American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries (AS/BSI), the owners of the sugar mill, issued a release this week saying that there’s been a case of what is referred to as a Maillard Reaction.
Maillard Reaction, named after the French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who discovered the process, is somewhat similar to the process of caramelization, where carbohydrates like sugar turn brown when heated, according to culinaryarts.about.com
However, when this process occurs, it can leave a carbon residue, which can become lethal if not properly removed.
According to the press release, only one tank of the molasses stored by ASR/BSI has been at this time affected. However, an estimated quantity and its financial value has not been disclosed to the public.
The farmers of the north will thus suffer a reduction in income due to the cut in the molasses supply.
As farmers struggle to cope with their economic problems, the environment is faced with a severe risk, as the disposal of the molasses brings its own challenges.
That is because this incident is rare and there is little known about its occurrence. According to BSI personnel, one of the methods of disposal is through irrigation, but even that needs to be assessed because it might not be the most environmentally friendly way.
As a result, the material has not been disposed of as yet, and ASR/BSI is awaiting instructions from the Department of the Environment.
According to BSI, the problem with the molasses was first observed on July 4, after which it immediately contacted the Department of the Environment.
In the press release ASR/BSI further stated that they are, “collaborating on an environmentally sound response to dispose the affected molasses.”
It concluded by reaffirming, “While difficult to handle, BSI is expending every effort to ensure total environmental, health and safety compliance…”