Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Junk Food Trumps Fruits and Vegetables in Federal Subsidies

Junk Food Trumps Fruits and Vegetables in Federal Subsidies

Iowa Public Interest Research Group

Amid debates over wasteful agricultural subsidy handouts to the top 10 percent of wealthiest farmers, federal subsidies for commodity crops are also subsidizing junk food additives like high-fructose corn syrup by the billions according to Apples to Twinkies—a new report by Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG). Meanwhile, farmers growing fresh fruits and vegetables barely get a bite at the apple.

“At a time when one in five kids aged 6 to 11 is now obese, it’s absurd that we’re spending billions of taxpayer dollars making the problem worse,” said Sonia Ashe, Iowa PIRG advocate. “Research has shown that increased snacking is responsible for a significant portion of this increase, and we’re just artificially driving down the cost of junk food.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Between 1995 and 2010, $16.9 billion in tax dollars specifically subsidized four common food additives—corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils (better known as hydrogenated vegetable oils). At $7.36 per taxpayer per year, that would buy each taxpayer 19 Twinkies. 
  • Outside of commodity crops, other agricultural products receive very little in federal subsidies. Since 1995, taxpayers spent only $262 million subsidizing apples, which is the only significant federal subsidy of fresh fruits or vegetables. That breaks down to 11 cents per taxpayer per year, which would buy less than a quarter of a Red Delicious apple. 
  • In Des Moines alone, taxpayers give $687,930 each year in junk food subsidies, and only $10,643 each year for subsidies to apples.

In Iowa, farm income for commodity crops like corn and soybeans is on the rise, and yet it’s the wealthiest of these farmers receiving the bulk of tax dollars as a safety net, while farmers attempting to grow a more diverse crop of fruits and vegetables are struggling.

“If America wants to remain competitive in the 21st century, it needs to create food and agricultural policies that place our citizen's health over corporate profits,” said Dave Murphy, with Food Democracy Now. “After decades of billions of taxpayers' dollars wasted pursuing reckless overproduction of cheap processed food, it's time to end the junk food economy and focus on making sure that fruits and vegetables are affordable for everyday Americans.”

For more information, click here.

—————

Iowa PIRG, the Iowa Public Interest Research Group, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization.

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch