Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not that I've ever doubted him...

... but a recent study pretty much confirmed that Michael Pollan is right and "fast food" is basically "corn." If you are wondering why this is awesome, let me explain. Or rather, let Wired explain. From the Wired post:

Chemical analysis from restaurants across the United States shows that nearly every cow or chicken used in fast food is raised on a diet of corn... Corn is an icon of unsustainable agriculture, requiring tons of fertilizer and pesticides, both of which require large amounts of fossil fuel to manufacture. Most of it is fed to livestock who didn't evolve to subsist entirely on corn. In cattle, eating corn increases flatulence emissions of methane — a potent greenhouse gas — and creates an intestinal environment rich in e. coli, a common cause of food poisoning. That necessitates mixing cow feed with antibiotics, in turn producing antibiotic-resistant disease strains... Many of those livestock end up in high-calorie, low-nutrition franchised fast foods... Fast food's biggest selling point is its low price — and that, say industry critics, is largely possible because of corn's ubiquitous cheapness.

And why is corn so cheap? Because it is subsidized by the government.

Corn is central to agriculture in the United States, where it is grown in greater volumes and receives more government subsidies than any other crop. Between 1995 and 2006 corn growers received $56 billion in federal subsidies, and the annual figure may soon hit $10 billion.

The $100-billion fast food industry has repeatedly been linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes (you know, the "western diseases"). So this is a pretty big deal. Something has got to change, right? Anyone else hoping that our new President Elect will spend some time with Michael Pollan or at least his books?


blog admin. said...

Also, thnx to Amanda Dobbin's buzzfeed post: http://buzzfeed.com/akdobbins/michael-pollan-is-right

Becky said...

I thought chicken nuggets tasted like corn...:)

blog admin. said...

Indeed. I remember reading about the processing of chicken nugget "meat" and wouldn't be surprised if there is some additional/extra corn/grain elements up in there.