Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:01 PM
MrScorpio (66,131 posts)
Fast Food, Slow Death
At the end of last year, when he was running for President, Rick Santorum told an Iowa audience that he would drastically reduce federal spending on food stamps.
Santorum asked, “If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger problem?”
Perhaps Santorum is still living in the Middle Ages, when fat bellies were a sign of wealth and plenty. In fact, given his views on sexual morality and gender roles, it’s likely Santorum actually is stuck in a time warp.
But in today’s reality, those obese and impoverished Americans Santorum is referring to aren’t living the high life, like rotund royalty of the past. They’re actually dying a slow, and ultimately miserable death, courtesy of our nation’s corporate food system.
Death by food is a hot topic in the news media whenever there’s a recall of e-coli contaminated spinach or salmonella infested chicken. Foodborne illnesses kill about 3,000 Americans every year and sicken another 48 million Americans. “We the people” have decided our food supply is a part of the commons, and thus created agencies like the USDA to monitor the safety of our food. But that's "fast death" by contaminated food, which is why it receives so much attention.
On the other hand, "slow death" by unhealthy food receives far less attention. We hear news stories about soaring obesity, diabetes, and heart disease rates, yet rarely make the connection back to major flaws in our national food system.
Some local lawmakers, however, have made these connections.
Led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who banned the sale of large, high-fructose sugary beverages and restricted the use of trans-fats in his city’s restaurants - lawmakers in California, Arkansas, and Virginia have also taken steps to curb the consumption of unhealthy food, doing everything from placing “sin taxes” on sugary sodas to banning toys in fast food restaurant kid’s meals. But most of these measures have been ridiculed by the political Right, amid charges that the “nanny state” has gone too far – a sign that Americans still don’t understand the urgency of reforming a food system that is slowly killing us all.
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