Many in the public health community have long decried farm subsidies for commodity crops such as corn and soybeans as the reason for the low cost of junk food relative to fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Subsidies, the thinking goes, have caused farmers to over produce corn and soybeans. Capitalizing on an inexpensive input, food manufacturers created high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil giving rise to a plethora of cheap, junk foods over-consumed by Americans, which in turn contributed to an epidemic of obesity.
But are federal commodity crop payments (i.e. subsidies) really the culprit? Would ending them create a healthier American food environment and put high-fructose corn syrup on the sidelines?
IATP's Dr. David Wallinga (co-author of a 2009 paper on US agriculture policy and the obesity epidemic) and Ben Lilliston will be joined by Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food and Water Watch to explore these questions, highlighted in a new paper published by FWW and the Public Health Institute, Do Farm Subsidies Cause Obesity? Dispelling Common Myths About Public Health and the Farm Bill.