From Subsidies to Junk Food

Food Supply & Food Politics

Sep 27

corn products, corn, corn syrup, corn sugarWhile Monsanto markets it’s GM crops as the solution to world hunger, it should come as no surprise that a new study released from the US Public Interest Research Group shows that the majority of USDA subsidized produce is used to produce junk food.

The study, aptly called “Apples to Twinkies,” showed that between 1995 and 2010, out of the $260 billion spent on subsidies, 17 billion went to four common food additives: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils.

In comparison, during the same time period, the USDA subsidized apples for only $261 million, and even less on other fruits and vegetables.

That’s some very expensive junk food. It is the same junk that causes the multiple epidemics of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, etc. facing the world today. And US taxpayers are funding this!

In fact, as reported by Bloomberg, The U.N. General Assembly is meeting right now in New York to develop a united response to the obesity-related increase in non-communicable, chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, type 2 diabetes) now experienced by both rich and poor countries throughout the world.

This is only the second time the UN has meet solely to discuss a health problem — the first occurred over AIDS. This meeting is aimed to spur government action against use of harmful food ingredients, tobacco and alcohol.

A recent study found that these chronic diseases will cost the global economy more than $30 trillion over the next 20 years.

On one side stand the U.S. and Western Europe, home to many of the companies that make the processed foods, alcohol and cigarettes. On the other, are emerging economies such as India and Brazil that have surging rates of diabetes and heart disease attributed to the consumption of some of those companies’ products.

Jamie Maxtone-Graham, the health minister for Papua New Guinea said, “industries realize that in the long term if people start dropping dead because of unhealthy, toxic food, they will lose out because nobody will buy their products. When there is public outrage, there is political action.”

Finally someone is doing something about this growing problem. But they are up against powerful lobbyists and mega companies that won’t go down without a fight.

At stake for the makers of snacks, drinks, cigarettes and drugs is a market with combined sales of more than $2 trillion worldwide last year.

Shiriki Kumanyika, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who will represent the International Association for the Study of Obesity at the summit said, “companies are going to have to either kill this or change what they’re doing…It’s a direct affront to the current way of doing business.”

To put it mildly. Hopefully something will change but I don’t expect miracles.

The Environmental Working Group has published a primer on farm subsidies  which outlines the top 20 recipients of farm subsidies. By far the most go to corn, with wheat and soybean following.

These products are used for additives to processed junk food and have nothing to do with solving the problem of world hunger as Monsanto likes to portray to the gullible.

What’s your take on this issue? Leave a comment and let me know!

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This post is linked to: Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Creative Juice Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Living Well Blog Hop, Monday Mania, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, Weekend Carnival, Traditional Tuesday

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