Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Excitotoxins, BPA, Money and My Food (Part 3)

You can follow the links to Part One and Part Two. A brief summary:

Excitotoxins are really bad for your brain.

BPA is really bad for your entire body.

And yet, these things are in our food. All the extra junk and additives and dyes and hormones and blech that are filling our food are there for a reason. Why? Why are we consuming them, both via our pocketbook and our mouths? Answer:


BPA alone is a $10 BILLION-a-year product. Never mind if they're selling the Grim Reaper, companies don't want to give up that kind of cash. The only way we can stop it is to stop buying it. For myself, I'm proud to say that I haven't used the can opener for a week! Now check this out:

"The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Wednesday released "Apples to Twinkies," a review of agricultural subsidies that shows that since 1995, approximately 16.9 BILLION dollars in taxpayer money have gone toward supplementing four of the country's most common food additives - corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils." Food Safety News, September 2011

Did you know your tax dollars were subsidizing Twinkies and prepackaged donuts?

In contrast, healthy foods like oranges and spinach receive no regular federal funding, with the exception of apples. For apples,  the government spent about .01 percent of its agricultural subsidy money between 1995 and 2010. 

If you run the numbers, and Food Safety News did, this means that if all the taxpayer money spent on agricultural products were distributed back to the consumers, you would get about $7 to spend on junk food, and about 11 cents to spend on an apple. Since organic apples are running well over a dollar each at our grocery store, this wouldn't get one very far...

This means junk food is subsidized at a rate of  nearly sixty four times that of... just apples. Not produce in general. Just apples. Apparently all we need is a tenth of an apple a year, and all those beet and radish and kale and chard and spinach farmers better pull themselves up by their bootstraps, 'cause giant agribusinesses need money for corn syrup.

Weird, huh?

I read those numbers, and then I read these interesting food bits:

1) "Currently there are approximately 3,794 different additives used in or on food, 3,640 of those are used purely for cosmetic purposes, 63 are used as preservatives and 91 as processing aids. It has been estimated that some 200,000 TONS of food additives are used annually, that 75% of the western diet consists of processed food and, that each person consumes an average of 8 to 10 pounds of food additives per year."   Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities 2007

(I also found this list of Food Additives. Long!) 

2) "U.S. Department of Agriculture data show that today we’re eating more of everything. By far the largest increase has been in the consumption of fats and oils, with a 63 percent jump over a 33-year period, from per capita annual consumption of about 53 pounds to about 86 pounds." Mother Earth News

3) "In 2000, the per capita consumption of high fructose corn syrup was 63.8 pounds." USDA Profiling Food Consumption in America

So, it isn't too tough to follow:

1) Our government gives huge subsidies to the manufacturers of "junk food ingredients."
2) This makes junk food cheap, cheaper than apples and much cheaper than vegetables.
3) Then, those junk foods are actually engineered to leave you wanting more and feeling unsatisfied.
4) We have a myriad of health epidemics linked to crappy food habits.

Remember Cuba Gooding Junior's "Show me the money" rant? (You know you want to watch it again). Well, we have to stop showing agribusiness the money. We need to do the work to get our tax dollars out of their hands, and we have to stop paying for their products at our stores. It is the only language they understand. It isn't enough that they contribute to the obesity, heart disease, and diabetes epidemics (to name a few). They will only stop if the money stops flowing.

Last thing! And maybe a little off subject... I have a friend who went to culinary school, and he gave me the heads-up on this one. There is something called Flak-Mor that is rolled into a lot of commercial pastry and bakery products. I have searched and searched for images but am not turning anything up... I wonder if the company manages to delete them all? According to my friend, who got to hold it and roll it and squeeze it, it feels and looks like grey modeling clay, but it rolls out really well, nice and smooth, and makes your baked goods really flaky! And yummy! And leaves you... wanting more!

I'll stick with butter please.

1 comment:

  1. I am awestruck! Jessica you rock. Did you get my post about the BPA in Full Circle Organic foods cans? Mama


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