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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Consumer advocate group CALPIRG is calling on the federal government to stop subsidizing farm crops used to make junk food ingredients.
CALPIRG’s Austin Price said a new report found that in the past 15 years, nearly $17 billion in tax dollars went solely to crops used to produce four common ingredients in junk food.
“High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, soy oils and corn starch,” Price said. “These produce a cheap dose of pure sweetness and fat. They are receiving massive taxpayer support.”
Price said the subsidies have driven down the price of high fat, sugar-free foods while less subsidized items like fresh fruits and vegetables have seen prices jump nearly 40 percent.
University of California, San Francisco pediatrician Dr. Curtis Chan said he supports Calpirg’s push to reform the subsidy program. He said there is only so much medical professionals can do when it comes to educating families about healthy eating.
“When you have foods that are unhealthy and artificially cheap, that increases the likelihood that families from low-income communities are going to buy those foods,” Chan said.
The five-year farm bill is up for renewal in Congress next year.
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