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 | Consumer Protection, Food

CALPIRG Calls on USDA to Increase Testing for Mad Cow

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) statement confirming the presence of an infected cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - commonly referred to as “mad cow disease” - in California reinforces the need for increased animal testing.

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Media Hit | Food

KCOY Central Coast News: Consumer Group Shows Taxpayer Money Going to Junk Food

University of California students with the consumer group CALPIRG released a study that shows billions of taxpayer dollars have gone to subsidize junk food ingredients.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Food

Over 25,000 Californians Tell Congress "Stop Subsidizing Obesity"

This week, as the U.S. Senate holds a major hearing on agriculture subsidies in preparation for writing the 2012 Farm Bill, CALPIRG organizers and activists across California report delivering over 25,000 California public comments to members of Congress, calling on them to end subsidies to businesses that don’t need the support, and who grow ingredients for unhealthy food. 

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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.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Budget, Food

Agriculture Committees Should Cut Subsidies for Junk Food

Cuts to agricultural subsidies should target the most egregious giveaways to agribusiness giants. The Super Committee should first eliminate the Direct Payments program, which wastes taxpayer money in a budget crunch and subsidizes junk food additives in the face of an obesity epidemic. 

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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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