Thursday, August 13, 2009

Make Them Eat Cake!

With all the debates, er, squabbles, around health care you might get the impression that the public actually understands the difference between a capitalistic and socialistic state (and how we are neither). But, today I offer an example of how it doesn’t really matter how we label ourselves, it's the corporations that run our country.

TSD isn't turning political, this is a nutrition issue. The major food companies in the US have “issued a warning that we could ‘virtually run out of sugar’.’ I have no problem with this yet; it’s is perfectly reasonable thing to do. The problem lies in that they’ve followed this with a threat, telling the government to relax tariffs on foreign sugar or else they’ll raise food prices and fire thousands of US workers.

What they’ve done is, essentially, held the government hostage. Of course they’re going to give in, but how is this good for our country? Last time I checked, we have an unemployment problem and sugar is the main ingredient responsible for an obesity epidemic that’s the root of all of these health care fisticuffs. This will hurt both national issues.

One of the main debates in the food industry is how to get sugar out of foods. The companies who’ve levied this threat, Kraft, General Mills, Hershey et al, are those who are sneaking sugar into places where no sugars have gone before. Apparently they want to continue this practice and aren’t about to take no for an answer, even if it’s beyond what the market can bear. Capitalism, bah! This is an oligarchy.

Peruse the food aisles at your local market and you’ll find sugar, as expected, in nearly every cookie, cake, and other dessert item. But you’ll also find it in bread, crackers, “natural” juices and cereals, salad dressings, condiments, sauces, soups, processed fruits and veggies, dairy products, even meat. Yes, meat... now who would want sugar in their meat?

The answer is the food companies, who regularly sneak sweet items into non-sweet foods so that we develop a palate to crave un-naturally sweet foods. As such, instead of craving an apple for dessert we’ve learned to crave the junk they want us to buy, like an apple pie--and even then, unless it’s made with apples with added sugar, it won’t do so we heap on ice cream because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to want, doubling corporate profits, along with our waistlines and health care costs.

And, hey, I am not making an argument for big government. They don’t exactly do a bang-up job with their antiquated administrative systems. But at least they’re beholden to the voter somewhat, and not a tiny group of overly rich investors who funnel their money into off-shore tax havens until they have enough to buy their own tropical island. But whether the issue is health care, food and drug safety, or Wall Street, at some point we need to create a system that at least allows the agencies the public creates to do their jobs.


screwdestiny said...

Wow. Thanks for talking about this issue 'cause I try to avoid the news and probably wouldn't have heard about it otherwise. That's really really sad that the companies can get away with doing this. Not like we could go without sugar for a few weeks or anything...

Rae said...

The American Heart Association is now chiming in that the sugar intake, in particular sodas, needs to be drastically reduced. Thought I'd share the good news!