The report, “Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food” by CALPIRG and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, studies the interesting question of whether the nation's problem with obesity is fueled by farm subsidies.
From 1995-2010, $16.9 billion in federal subsidies went to producers and others in the business of corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils, according to the report.
The findings come as the White House has been rallying to battle childhood obesity, and Congress is poised to potentially either quash or curtail direct farm subsidy payments in the future.
America is spending enough for each U.S. taxpayer to buy 19 Twinkies a year, according to the report. In comparison, it said, federal subsidies for fresh produce would cover only a few bites of an apple per taxpayer a year.
One of the more interesting findings: Taxpayers in the San Francisco area spend $2,762,295 each year in junk food subsidies, but only $41,950 each year on apple subsidies.
“If these agricultural subsidies went directly to consumers to allow them to purchase food, each of America’s 144 million taxpayers would be given $7.36 to spend on junk food and $0.11 with which to buy apples each year -- enough to buy 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple apiece,” CALPIRG officials said in a statement.
From the September 22, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.