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11 Trillion Reasons to Stop Subsidizing GMO Corn, Soybeans, and Other Commodity Crops

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Organic Transitions page, Health Issues page and our Farm Issues page.

Here's a good line: "[U]nenlightened farm policy - with its massive subsidies for junk food ingredients - has played a pivotal role in shaping our food system over the past century. But that policy can readily be changed."

With the possible substitution of the word "might" for "can," this is pretty much an inarguable statement. It comes from "The $11 Trillion Reward: How Simple Dietary Changes Can Save Money and Lives, and How We Get There," a report produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists (U.C.S.) to be introduced at the farmers' market[1] at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital Wednesday.

That's a big number, $11 trillion, but even if it's off by 90 percent (it's difficult to put a value on lives), who's to scoff at a trillion bucks? In any case, this summary of current research, which contains the argument that even a tiny increase in our consumption of fruits and vegetables would have a powerful impact on health and its costs, agriculture and the economy, is compelling.

About 750,000 United States deaths annually - a third of the total - result from cardiovascular disease, at a medical cost of about $94 billion. The report (and video based on it) maintains that if we upped our average intake of fruits and vegetables by a single serving daily - an apple a day, essentially - more than 30,000 of those lives would be saved (at an overall "value," according to the report, of $2.7 trillion). Each additional serving of fruit or vegetable would reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease by about 5 percent, to the point where if we all ate the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, we'd save more than 100,000 lives and something like $17 billion in health care costs.[2]       


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