You're what you eat (Blog 7)

How Tax Dollars Become Twinkies

Where to begin with problems in the food industry? I think it would be easier to find what the food industry does right and scrap everything else. This topic infuriates me to no end because the entire planet is affected by a small group of greedy, powerful people. Here is a quick summary of what I have learned during my liberal arts education:

  • The US government subsidizes corn crops (meaning they give money to companies like Monsanto and Dupont) to increase food production. This policy was put in place before the Great Depression and has been continued as tradition, without regard for current economic conditions.
  • These companies create GMOs that are riddled with chemicals and pesticides and horrible for everyone’s health
  • Corn is over-produced, making it extremely cheap and therefore put in everything we eat (like Twinkies)
  • Health in the US is horrible and obesity is at an all time high, so the government does things like tax soda and remake the food pyramid in efforts to undo the problem they created

Makes a lot of sense, right? However, if the government were to reduce corn subsidies then organic and local food prices would be able to compete with GMOs, which in theory would improve the health of the nation way more than any “eat healthy” food pyramid commercial.

Monsanto, by the way, has repeatedly been called the world’s most evil company.

It baffles me that the company has been allowed to ban reuse of seeds to grow new crops. The entire point of a seed is to grow new plants. It is wasteful and extremely expensive to the farmer to have to buy new seeds from Monsanto every season. Maybe if farmers didn’t have to pay an inordinate amount of money for seeds then they wouldn’t need subsidies to survive.

No part of this system makes any sense if the goal is an efficient supply chain that creates healthy food for Americans. Unfortunately, if the goal is for Monsanto executives and connected government officials to make as much money as possible by taking advantage of small farmers and US citizens, then we are right on target.

4 thoughts on “How Tax Dollars Become Twinkies

  1. I agree with you. It is difficult for me to understand how the government and high powered executives can be so greedy, when the remainder of society is being taken advantage of either due to jobs or health.

  2. I can’t believe that the farmers are not allowed to use their seeds to grow crops, and have to buy them again. That is ridiculous. The system seems completely backwards. It’s sad to know that legal bans such as this keep farmers in their current economic situations.

  3. Great points.

    I don’t know the specifics of this Monsanto case, but in others, it was enough to show that there was the Monsanto gene in a farmer’s fields without ever showing he had actually planted it. This seems to extend IP protection into a world of cross-pollination and seed mobility. In other words, can’t it be that the GMO seeds get “out” into the environment? Is that the farmer’s fault? Textbooks, to take your example, don’t self-replicate and show up in my library. Clydesdales, well, they don’t self-replicate as easily.

  4. She should be clearer about terms, but in this case, the GMO seeds of Monsanto are GM’ed (if I can make a verb) so they can be sprayed with pesticides. So the two are linked. But it can be clearer.

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