Consumer Advocates Say Government Is Subsidizing Obesity



The “Apples to Twinkies 2013” report, produced by the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, says that the federal government continued its trend of doling out millions of taxpayer dollars per year to large-scale agribusinesses. The report indicates that between 1995 and 2012, about 75 percent of the $290 billion in agricultural subsidies were given to 3.8 percent of the nation’s farmers.


Natalie Johnson, a campaign director at ConnPIRG, said the big-business farmers are in the market of producing commodity crops such as corn and soybeans that are mostly used as processed food additives such as high-fructose corn syrup and vegetable oils.


“In Connecticut, one in four kids is considered overweight or obese,” Johnson said. “While the rise has many causes, the increased prevalence of high-fat, heavily-sweetened junk food is one of the main competitors.”


The report states that $84.4 billion of the $290 billion in subsidies has been spent on corn production, “$8.1 billion of which funded production of corn starch and sweeteners. Of the total domestic corn produced, 9.6 percent ended up in junk food and beverages as sweeteners or thickeners.”



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