Big Food: Why did the Obamas Fail to take on Corporate Ag?

Excerpts from the Michael Pollan’s essay, NY Times, 10/9/2016

This essay describes the 8 year failure of the Obamas to address the problems with the US food supply: 

  1. Subsidized monocultures of corn and soy
  2. Guzzling huge amounts of fossil fuel
  3. Emitted 1/3 of greenhouse gases
  4. Feedlot meat and processed foods of all kinds responsible for steep rise in health care costs: A substantial portion of what we spend on health care in this country goes to treat chronic diseases linked to diet.
  5. Vulnerable food safety threats: Scale and centralization of a food system in which 1 factory washes 25 million servings of salad or grinds 20 million hamburger patties each week is uniquely vulnerable to food-safety threats (Negligence or terrorists)

EPA Failed to record nation’s CAFOs

“In the years after, Big Food scored a series of victories over even the most reasonable attempts to rein in its excesses. Remember the pledge to Iowans to regulate CAFOs (“just as any other polluter”) and stanch the flood of animal waste they were loosing on rural America? For the government to regulate CAFOs at all, it must first know where they are and how many animals they house, a survey the E.P.A. has been trying to conduct since 2008. But in July 2012, after lobbying by meat producers, the E.P.A. dropped its effort just to count the nation’s CAFOs.”

Big Ag responsible for Greenhouse Gases

“Big Food’s single most important victory during the Obama years as one it didn’t even have to break a sweat achieving, since it involved an issue on which it wasn’t even challenged. The administration undertook an ambitious campaign to tackle climate change by stringently regulating industries responsible for greenhouse gases, notably energy and transportation. For whatever reason, though, the administration chose not to confront one of the largest emitters of all: agriculture.”

Full article is here.



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