Ever wonder why cheeseburgers are so cheap? Or why school cafeterias still serve more meatloaf and hot dogs than fruits and vegetables? The answer may surprise you.
The Farm Bill, America’s primary federal food policy, keeps high-fat, cholesterol-laden pork, beef, cheese, and other unhealthy animal products cheap and widely available.
The Farm Bill doled out more than $70 billion in food subsidy payments from 1995 to 2005, and more than three-quarters of that money went to producers of meat, sugar, oil, dairy, alcohol, and feed crops used in meat production. Fruit and vegetable farmers received less than 1 percent of government subsidies. To make matters worse, the federal government purchases Farm Bill surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including the National School Lunch Program.
Now that the Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to begin marking up its version of the Farm Bill in October, PCRM and other groups are calling for sweeping changes.