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Production

Once the crop is Grown and Harvested, processing the sugar takes center stage. Whether it's beet, or cane, the steps are very similar...and quality control is equally important.

SUGAR PROCESSING STEPS

(All controlled through state-of-the-art flow and monitoring systems.)

  • Washing: the crops are washed to remove all field dirt and debris. (The water then goes to a holding pond or wastewater facility for treatment.)
  • Slicing/Milling: sugar beets are cut into slices called cossettes. These cossettes are mixed with hot liquid and placed in a diffuser. Similarly, sugar cane is sent through a series of mills where it is crushed, and the juice extracted. The juice is treated with lime and boiled.
  • Diffusion: the diffuser separates the raw sugar juice from the plant pulp.
  • Purification: the raw sugar juice goes through several purifying and filtering steps.
  • Crystallization: the purified sugar juice syrup is carefully boiled and seeded with microscopic sugar crystals to start the crystallization process. During this process, the crystals "collect" and "snowball" in size … when the desired size is reached, a mixture of crystals and molasses is formed. This mixture goes through a centrifuge to separate out the crystals. These granulated crystals are now 99.9% pure sugar.
  • Specialty Products: United Sugars also further processes some of its sugar, making various products including powdered sugar and light brown or dark brown sugar.
  • Sugar Handling: the granulated sugar—either bulk or bagged—is loaded onto railcars or trucks and transported through our distributor network to industrial food business.