Down Our Throats – How Corporate Influence and Public Policy Conspire to Keep Us Unhealthy

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posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 02:46 PM
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I put this in the Social Issues forum because I firmly believe that food, in general is a social issue. Our methods of acquiring food, what is in our food and the companies who provide these ingrediants is of the utmost important in our 21st century society.

I've alway been a proponent for local grown produce and organic foods. I've been against most forms of GMO foods and continue to be against anything which the death cult Monsanto brings to the table. That having being said, and my bias being put forward first, there is the issue of legislation and Corporate influence within that legislation.

An interesting article that I've read from Black Listed News will be the basis for this thread and the subsequent discussion.

The article begins with the general notion that America ( I extend this to North America) is increasingly unhealthy. We see statistics showing that 17% of children are considered obese and 1 out of 3 adults is obese in the US alone.

As staggering as those statistics are, this article makes some great points as to why we've failed to reign in our health problems, while at the same time maintaining a healthy society.

Are taxes the answer?


Denmark is an interesting example of this type of policy. In 2011, the Danish government began taxing foods containing more than 2.3% saturated fat, yet, due to strong pressure from the food industry in an already weak economy, the tax is now being repealed. Furthermore, the Danish public was resentful for having to pay more for natural foods high in fat, such as butter, dairy products and meat.

“The purpose of food taxes is to reduce sales of the products concerned. In bringing in its fat tax, the Danish government also wanted to raise revenue, reduce costs associated with obesity-related diseases, and increase health and longevity…. Anti-obesity tax measures in other countries have tended to avoid targeting broad nutrient groups. Instead, they focus on processed foods, fast food or sugary drinks – all major sources of calories. Taxing them seems like a more promising strategy.” – source: New Scientist

.Recently Dr. Oliver Mytton, Academic Clinical Fellow, and his colleagues at the University of Oxford had examined the effect that taxes can have on public health. The research team found that taxing a variety of unhealthy foods would be most beneficial for public health, although if lawmakers were to start somewhere, a tax on sugary drinks would quickly have a noticeable impact.

“… a US study found a 35% tax on sugar sweetened drinks ($0.45 (£0.28; €0.34) per drink) in a canteen led to a 26% decline in sales.

Meanwhile modelling studies predict a 20% tax on sugary drinks in the US would reduce obesity levels by 3.5%, and suggest that extending VAT (at 17.5%) to unhealthy foods in the UK could cut up to 2700 heart disease deaths a year.” – source: BMJ.com

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As the article mentions, about 57% of the price of a pack of cigarettes is tax. This model has shown to be effective at curbing smoking rates, along with educational material. Some statistics go as far as to say that there has been a decline of 50% in active smokers since the 1980's.

However IMO this is more due to the fact of the ever increasing medical documentation showing that cigarettes will contribute to your health's decline over the long term. As well as removing easy access of the substance from children, who are no doubt the most influencial group of consumers.

However according to these studies carried out the rate of decline (3.5%) in certain health areas is hardly anything to jump up and down about.

Other kinds of legislation proposed in some countries is to subsidize organic markets as opposed to our traditional markets like corn. The article also notes, that as organic farming has become more prevelant, large food companies are buying up these businesses with much haste.

What we've seen in our food industry in North America is that big business is given a green light on virtually anything put forward, and the small organic, and no doubt more healthy folks are being given pink slips.

It's imperative, that we as citizens begin to demand proper behavior from food companies. The proper labelling of food, the proper packaging, the proper growing and the proper ( insert whatever it is ) that is required to keep our society healthy.

Another point which the artlce touches on is that this unhealthy nation feeds the larges medical industry in the world. They are best served by continuing to have more and more people fall into the hands of diseases such as diabetes and cancers.

Money is made on treatment, not on cures. Although I'm sure most doctors and medical professionals have a vested interest in keeping us healthy, those who write the cheques and those such as big pharma, clearly have a vested interest in making money.

That does require you do have something they need to fix. What better way than to keep you unhealthy through your food choices.

Not only in the availability of any given product, but the cost of said product. Anybody who eats organic knows they can sometimes pay up to 3 times the sticker price of a non organic item. Even them without proper labelling of food, who knows if what you receive is truly organic?

What are you thoughts ATS?

~Tenth




posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


Well done Tenth!!! I really enjoyed this one!

It seems the hypocracy of our governments to make us healthier, seems easily debunked by their actions and favoritism towards the Mega food corporations that force their wares into our local grocery shelves!

I will say that I appreciate Michelle Obama for trying to get children to eat healthier, but when you see how the government supports the GMO, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Big Pharm and many more, that I am forced to look toward her compassion for children to be healthier nothing more than a well planned farce! Especially when no GMO produce is served at the WH.........

I could go on and on............GOOD POST!



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 03:43 PM
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reply to post by seeker1963
 


Thanks Seeker!

Yes, I can appreciate any program developped to assist kids in eating healthy, but they need education and they need adults to hold companie's accountable for their advertising and product contents.

I must also stress the idiocy in having votes to make "Pizza into a vegetable" in order to circumvent health laws that have been passed in public schools.

~Tenth



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


While I applaud your post and research....it is not just the Corporate influence to blame.
It is also government.
Together the two conspire to skew test results and convince us that margarine is far better for us than butter.
And saturated fat is our enemy....while vegetable oils are good for us.

So, our foods choices are further muddied by a Food Pyramid put together with research from the likes of the soy and corn industries....and we know they couldn't possible be biased



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 05:53 PM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


I agree entirely.

It's bad enough we have a whole group of folk who actively deny science, who sit on panels such as the Science Committee in Congress.

Needless to say it's about high time we start hiring academics to make some of these decisions instead of career liars.

~Tenth



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 07:04 PM
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I almost agree with everything posted. Michelle Obama has tried to make American children eat healthier. With that being said, she also has hurt the schools breakfast and lunch meals. I worked in a school district that was and still is in low poverty area. I've seen children where their only meals were the ones they got from school. Now that Mrs. Obama has reduced the lunch by almost half, these children are hungry all day long. They use to beg for food before going home on the bus, now they are begging for food all day from staff members. It's a shame that the one place they got a so called decent meal is now a place they can't even fill up or rely on.

With that being said, I must agree that the big companies are slowly taking out all the small farmers. This will eventually lead to food only being offered by these big companies. Even your everyday people who farm for just their families are suffering. Seeds, plants and fertilizer prices are extremely higher compared to a couple of years ago. Making it hard for even these people to provide for their families. We have started saving our own seeds to be able to afford to plant our own food still. These big companies are also making hybrid plants so that the seeds can not be saved and replanted the following year.

The government has proven time and time again that they don't care about what is put in your food until it causes an outbreak (mad cow disease, ecoli, salmonella, unexplained deaths, etc). Then all of a sudden, they are concerned and investigate. The investigation IMHO should be done before food is even allowed to reach the public. But then, I would have to wake up from this dream of an America who really cares about its people and not the money that is being handed out by these big companies behind closed doors.



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 07:07 PM
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reply to post by GideonFaith
 


I wasn't aware of the whole cutting meals in half thing, that's honestly ridiculous.

Some of these kids have their only full meal at school, to take it away from them is criminal.

~Tenth



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 07:16 PM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower
reply to post by GideonFaith
 


I wasn't aware of the whole cutting meals in half thing, that's honestly ridiculous.

Some of these kids have their only full meal at school, to take it away from them is criminal.

~Tenth


It is beyond words to watch these children during meal time at school. I use to give them anything I had that was prepackaged. You knew the children who depended on any little thing to help them get by from day to day. I worked in a middle/high school and I have visually seen these children lick their plates clean. If a child left their tray on the table, they would eat what was left and lick that tray also. Because of the laws, schools are not allowed to give them more than one breakfast or lunch. While they throw away food daily.

I mean no harm when I say this, but people really need to look into their own neighborhoods and help these children who live right here among us.



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 07:58 PM
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I'm doing my part. I buy raw milk at $6.00 a gallon, and drive 22 miles to get it. I pay out the a$$ for grass fed beef raised on pasture without antibiotics or hormones. Same for chicken. And eggs. I spent a lot of money on a turkey for thanksgiving that was raised wild. I grow romain lettuce, spagetti squash, tomatos, cucumbers, beets, sweet potatos, asparagus and broccoli. All in my backyard. I learned how from the internets. Research the "Mittleider method".

Here's the deal. While I might pay alot, relativly speaking, it's not any more than my grandparents paid in 1940!

What?

Yup. I put how much I spend on differnet foods in an online inflation calculator. Much to my surpise, I pay the same or less than my grandparent did in 1940 when accounting for inflation. And I pay WAY less for eggs fresh fron a farm from chickens that will tear apart and eat baby mice when they get the opportunity. Chickens are not vegitarians, despite what the label might brag about on the egg carton at the store.

I figure if my grandparents, and parents (both raised on farms) did it, I can do it.

The problem is, we are used to paying very little of our income on food. Back in "olden times" we spent a much larger % of our income on food.

So find an online inflation calculator, enter the cost for that local grassfed beef and compare.

Then stick it to Monsanto and the rest of them by buying local and fresh, just like your grandparents (or great granparents) did.

And stop buying processed crap. Save that money for real food.

To put this more to practice, I'm going to my local place tomorrow that gives away food and has a little free health clinic. I'm an RN and they need someone to teach nutrition. So I'm gonna see about volunteering to teach how to eat right.

Vegitables. Meat. Berries. Some fruit. Beef tallow, coconut oil. Real butter. Fish. Lots of good saturated fats. NO VEGITABLE OIL. NO MARGARINE. NO WHEAT. NO SUGAR. NO CRAP-IN-A-BOX.

Real Food.

I'll probably get run out on a rail for failing to bow to the low fat, low cholesterol mantra. So be it. I'd going in with both guns blazing.

I'm tired of complaining and doing nothing and watching people DIE from eating crap.

Let you know how it goes.
edit on 30-11-2012 by davjan4 because: (no reason given)
edit on 30-11-2012 by davjan4 because: spelling
edit on 30-11-2012 by davjan4 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 08:52 PM
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reply to post by davjan4
 


I agree with you, paying a little extra for something you know has not been processed or tampered with is golden. Yes, chickens will eat insects, bugs, etc. Never seen one eat a mouse, but I am sure they would if they got hungry enough. Maybe that is what is wrong with mine, they are fed too much.


My family and I are trying to get back to better things. We have a small garden with your normal veggies year round. Right now we have collards, cabbage, broccoli, garlic and onions. Several fruit trees and bushes going, not big enough yet for any harvest. Chickens are all kept in a large moveable tractor (good for fertilizing the yard) and we have eggs year round. This past year we started with dairy goats. Milk taste a little sweeter, but it is good. Goat milk makes an excellent cheese too. We have hopefully got them all bred for early spring to bring the milk supply in again. Last, but not least, we have our own honeybees and honey. Yummy! There is nothing better than home grown items. Knowing what they are fed and how they are treated is an ease off my mind. We are now starting up a trade with a neighbor down the road for his beef. Sounds like old times to me, trading and bartering.





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