Stop Subsidizing Obesity

OUR TAX DOLLARS HELP FUEL OBESITY EPIDEMIC—Since 1995, $18 billion has been given away in subsidies to Big Agribusinesses, this money gets used to produce common junk food ingredients, like high-fructose corn syrup. These giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when one-in-three kids is overweight or obese.

PUT JUNK FOOD SUBSIDIES ON A DIET

Almost anything you can think of would be a better use of our tax dollars than subsidizing the ingredients in junk food, but every year more than a billion taxpayer dollars do just that. Huge, profitable corporations, like Cargill and Monsanto, have pocketed $18 billion in the last 16 years and turned subsidized crops into junk food ingredients — including high fructose corn syrup.

These taxpayer giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when one-in-three kids is overweight or obese, and obesity-related diseases like diabetes are turning into an epidemic.

Many of these wasteful subsidies are set to expire this year, but industry lobbyists are urging Congress to keep them. In 2008 alone, big agribusinesses spent $200 million on lobbying and campaign contributions.

No one in Congress wants to be seen standing up for taxpayer giveaways to junk food. Cutting wasteful spending while attacking childhood obesity could be the perfect storm we need to push past the junk food industry.

Obesity Quick Facts:

  • High-fructose diets impair learning and memory.
  • For each additional can of soda drunk daily, the odds of a child becoming obese increases by about 60%.
  • Childhood obesity has quadrupled in the last 40 years.
  • Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.
  • Once an adult problem, diabetes associated with obesity is increasing among children.

Issue updates

News Release | CALPIRG | Food

California Legislature Takes First Step to Require GMO Labeling

SACRAMENTO, CA — A bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs) sold in California passed out of the Senate Health Committee today.

“Consumers have the right to know what’s in the food we buy. Polling indicates 90% of Americans want information about GMOs, just like we already require nutritional information,” said Austin Price, Field Director with CALPIRG.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Food

A Year of Progress

As of 2013, 90% of the corn and 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. are GMO varieties, and by the mid-2000s, 87% of the domestic canola crop was genetically modified. Despite USDA and FDA regulations leaving consumers in the dark, many companies have been responding independantly to the overwhelming consumer support for GMO labeling.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Food

New Farm Bill Contains Massive Taxpayer Handouts To Big Ag

CALPIRG urges Congress to vote NO on the Farm Bill. At a time of supposed fiscal caution, this bill would put taxpayers on the hook for another five years of billion-dollar handouts to huge, profitable agribusinesses. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Sacremento, CA – Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high-fructose corn syrup, at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year, according to CALPIRG’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.” Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer. 
 

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Food

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients. That is enought to buy 20 twinkies for every American taxpayer.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | CALPIRG | Food

California Legislature Takes First Step to Require GMO Labeling

SACRAMENTO, CA — A bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs) sold in California passed out of the Senate Health Committee today.

“Consumers have the right to know what’s in the food we buy. Polling indicates 90% of Americans want information about GMOs, just like we already require nutritional information,” said Austin Price, Field Director with CALPIRG.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Food

New Farm Bill Contains Massive Taxpayer Handouts To Big Ag

CALPIRG urges Congress to vote NO on the Farm Bill. At a time of supposed fiscal caution, this bill would put taxpayers on the hook for another five years of billion-dollar handouts to huge, profitable agribusinesses. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Sacremento, CA – Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high-fructose corn syrup, at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year, according to CALPIRG’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.” Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer. 
 

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Food

Senate Farm Bill Continues Giant Giveaways to Big Agribusiness

“Defenders of the Farm Bill, and the agribusiness industry, are claiming that the legislation recently passed by the Senate represents real reform of federal agricultural subsidies, but nothing could be further from the truth. “

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Food

House Rejects Farm Bill Loaded with Subsidies to Big Agribusiness

Statement of Emily Rusch, CALPIRG State Director, on the Farm Bill rejected by the U.S. House.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Food

A Year of Progress

As of 2013, 90% of the corn and 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. are GMO varieties, and by the mid-2000s, 87% of the domestic canola crop was genetically modified. Despite USDA and FDA regulations leaving consumers in the dark, many companies have been responding independantly to the overwhelming consumer support for GMO labeling.  

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Food

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients. That is enought to buy 20 twinkies for every American taxpayer.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Food, Tax

Apples to Twinkies 2012

At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic, crushing debt and a weak economy, billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Budget, Food, Tax

Toward Common Ground

Our nation faces unprecedented fiscal challenges, as the commitments we’ve made now and into the future far outpace our fiscal capacity. Congress, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and citizens across the country must grapple with very difficult decisions about how we can put our fiscal house in order. It will be critical to reach out across party lines and across ideological persuasions to achieve common-sense reforms that can bring us closer to balance.

> Keep Reading
Report | Food

Apples to Twinkies

America is facing an obesity epidemic – one that’s hitting children especially hard. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades, with one in five kids aged 6 to 11 now obese.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Food

California’s Initiative to label GMOs defeated, but States taking up the Fight | Jon Fox

Unfazed by the defeat of Prop 37 in California, consumer groups are working across states for labeling and have united as the Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Food

Farm Bill Still Giving out Corporate Handouts to Big Ag | Emily Rusch

Instead of embracing reform, the Senate decided to continue to send tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to Big Ag. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Food

STATMENT: US Senate Approves FDA Safety and Innovation Act | Jon Fox

The US Senate Passage of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) not Strong Enough to Ensure Sufficient Consumer Safety from Drugs and Medical devices.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Budget, Consumer Protection, Democracy, Food

Tragedy reinforces need for Homeowners’ Bill of Rights | Jon Fox

Californin man's death is further evidence that big banks have failed consumers.  

> Keep Reading
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PRIORITY ACTION

One in three kids in America is overweight or obese, yet we're giving away billions of tax dollars to subsidize junk food ingredients. Help us eliminate these wasteful subsidies once and for all.
 

You Can Help

We have a chance to cut billions in junk food subsidies this year. Your support will help us do the research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to convince our elected officials to act.

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