With rates of obesity, diabetes, and nearly every other major health problem rising each year, why has the United States decided to heavily subsidize junk food? Farmers around the country choosing to grow healthy crops like chard, broccoli, and spinach simply do not have the government funding that those growing massive amounts of corn and soy beans (of which above 90% of each are genetically modified) do. Does the U.S. government really think that fruits and vegetables are not as important as grains which are used mostly for processing harmful food items? It may be time for a policy change.
Unhealthy Food Subsidization is Ruining Our Health
Between 1995 and 2010 over $260 billion was spent by American taxpayers in agricultural subsidies. Most of that money is put into commodity crops such as corn and soybeans, but the money is far less than well spent. While corn alone took in a whopping $77.1 billion from the government between 1995 and 2010, taxpayers spent $262 million subsidizing apples during the same time period. It just so happens that apples are really the only significant federal subsidy of fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, if these agricultural subsidies went directly to consumers for the purchase of food, America’s 144 million taxpayers would each be given $7.36 to spend on junk food and only 11 cents to buy apples each year. This equates to about 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one healthy apple.
The U.S. government continues to be a major player in the national food business, with subsidies continuing to grow. The worst part is that the crops being subsidized are almost always genetically modified and pose a health risk to the environment and humankind.
Corn may be the crop utilized most poorly in the country. The corn being produced is actually specifically created for purposes of adding certain ingredients (many of which are toxic) into the food supply. One such ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, which has been found to contain mercury and cause cancer, and resides in many products such as ketchup, cereals, and beverages. Shockingly, it has nearly replaced sugar in all sodas and soft drinks.
Then there is corn starch, corn gluten meal, hydrolyzed corn protein, and corn syrup which can all be found in snacks like cookies. Lastly, corn is used to feed conventionally-fed animals to prompt weight gain and hasten their slaughter weight. Unfortunately, these animals’ digestive systems are not meant to digest corn, causing the animals to be fed antibiotics.
In addition to corn lies soybeans, another crop heavily subsidized by the U.S. government. Today, the U.S. produces at least 75% of all soybeans grown worldwide, with an increase of about 10 million acres produced between 2007 and 2011. Total subsidies for soybeans between 1995 and 2010 totaled $24.3 billion, making it 3rd on the list of top products subsidized. Unfortunately this heavily subsidized crop is no less genetically modified than corn, with nearly 93% of US soybeans being genetically modified in order to resist powerful weed-killers.
These genetically modified crops pushed by the government are said to reduce pesticide usage and be completely safe according to U.S. government agencies. But more than enough evidence has shown these touted benefits to be false claims, and the heavily subsidized, genetically modified junk food pushed on the population has only been shown to be a threat to your health.