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Monday, July 19, 2004

From Gersh Kuntzman via Newsweek:

The USDA is so beholden to American agricultural producers that a report it commissioned in 1999 didn't address the health needs of Americans, but merely the concerns of the agriculture industry. For example, if Americans cut their consumption of sweeteners to healthy levels, it would translate "into a 4.8-million-ton reduction in domestic sugar output" in Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho, Michigan, and California. If Americans cut their world-leading consumption of fats and oils, the "reductions will have the largest impact on the soy bean sector...translating into 20 percent less acreage." If we were to cut our intake of meat, the shift "would have a measurable effect on the grain sector."

But if we were to eat more fruit, the report said, "imports would likely take up the slack, as land, labor and climatic constraints limit expansion of domestic fruit production." In other words, the USDA can't afford to encourage healthy eating. No wonder nutritionists think the USDA and the agri-industrial complex are part of the problem, not the solution.

It took so-called fad diets like the Atkins' Diet to illustrate this point.


.: posted by Dave 1:26 PM

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