Taxpayers Subsidizing Junk Food: Report

To the tune of $16.9B over 15 years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2011 10:36 AM CDT
Snack food is displayed inside a grocery store February 8, 2006 in New York City.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Is America’s obesity epidemic government subsidized? That’s the question CALPIRG and the US PIRG Education Fund set out to answer with a new study, and its answer was affirmative, according to the LA Times. From 1995 to 2010, the government handed $16.9 billion in farm subsidies to people involved in making four common junk food ingredients: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils.

Over the same time period, $262 million went to subsidizing apples. CALPIRG did some math: "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 11 cents with which to buy apples each year,” CALPIRG said in its statement. That’s “enough to buy 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple.”

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