twinkies

Junk food may be the unmasked villain in our nation’s ongoing battle against obesity, but a huge chunk of its funding is actually coming from the U.S. government, cites a new report.

A study conducted by a federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) has determined that the U.S. subsidized more than $19 billion in corn and soy products for use as junk food ingredients since 1995. The report cites that it’s approximately enough money to buy 52 billion Twinkies (Hostess Brands, take note). And despite recent bankruptcy filings by Hostess, Twinkies are actually one of the more heavily subsidized food products, reports the Huffington Post, “The recently-rereleased Twinkie is made with 17 taxpayer-subsidized ingredients, including corn starch, corn syrup and vegetable shortening.”

That’s right, Twinkies, arguably one of the most deserving poster products for our nation’s obesity epidemic, receives government handouts, even though there’s nothing healthy about a Twinkie. They’re not even allowed to be sold in schools. Apples, by comparison, the only fruit or vegetable to receive government subsidies, received less than $700 million in aid during the same time period.

PIRG lobbyists also recently attempted to persuade the House of Representatives to vote no on recent farm bill legislation that would continue to support big agribusiness agendas by way of major subsidies. Calling subsidies to corn sweeteners and starch and soy oil “inexcusable”, the group said that taxpayers could no longer afford to continue to finance “empty calories”—particularly as the obesity epidemic, now technically a disease according to the AMA, affects millions of Americans.

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Image: Prof Coverdale