FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cash for Cheesedogs?

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

The recession is having one positive effect. The national cholesterol is going down.

More than half of Americans have cut back on meat, many becoming “recession-bred flexitarians,” says Gourmet magazine–people who use meat as a condiment not as a meal anchor.

Even the doyenne of taste and nutrition, Martha Stewart, broadcast a vegetarian Thanksgiving show last week.

A small drop in meat exerts big consequences on your health says Katherine Tallmadge of the American Dietetic Association because red meat is the “primary source of saturated fat, which can boost levels of bad LDL cholesterol and inflammation.”

It is no doubt the reason death from heart attacks goes down not up during recessions as Christopher Ruhm, an economist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro reports.

Unfortunately, it also has a big effect on meat producers for whom the droves of flexitarians are equivalent to Atlanta and all its suburbs going vegetarian. And that’s before you consider the effect that the swine, sorry H1N1 virus has had on the pork industry.

To address the low demand emergency, the Washington DC-based National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has a kind of Cash for Clunkers plan.

Funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act revenues, its Meat the Need proposal would increase the amount that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients receive in food assistance if they use it for animal products. Recipients would either get a separate electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card or earmarked vouchers.

“Product purchases will quickly reduce the oversupply on the market while additional funding to SNAP for meat purchases will allow low-income families access to more nutritious meals,” says the NASDA proposal.

The government purchase program makes so much $ense to producers with unwanted products, 16 businesses expressed their support in Missouri alone including the Missouri Dairy Association, Missouri Dairy Growth Council, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Egg Council, Missouri Pork Association, The Poultry Federation and ag oriented bankers.

But there are some wrinkles.

What good is a temporary program if the changes Americans have made in what they eat, spend and drive become permanent after the recession? What if, after our austerity, a consuming, go-go lifestyle no longer appeals?

Is it really conscionable to dump products that the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and almost every other health group say to limit on poorer people because no one else will eat them? To boost the economy? Because they have less choice? Especially when the products include processed meat, known for its carcinogenic potential?

Aren’t people with lower incomes who receive food aid disproportionately plagued with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure, gallstones, fatty liver and obesity-related cancers already?

Is dumping food no one wants on the least fortunate any different than the nice venison hunters offered to food pantries two years ago except that it might be contaminated with the mad cow like Chronic Wasting Disease and lead? (The pantries refused it.)

Or the plan in Illinois to “harvest” the Canadian geese that live at so many subdivisions and corporate parks for the poor to eat? We’re not that hungry food pantry recipients said.

Doesn’t dumping high calorie, high fat, high cholesterol food undermine government wellness and school lunch programs which emphasize vegetables, fiber and exercise?

Finally isn’t the hallmark of a capitalist versus command economy demand? When it’s there you become a Bill Gates and when it’s not, an AOL?

Isn’t an oversupply of milk, pork or beef the market’s own rejection slip? As in 8 track tapes and pantyhose?

No NASDA’s Meat the Need program which it admits “promotes the policy of providing nutritious meat and dairy products to families while clearing excess inventory of those products,” is just an industry-first-public-second initiative which makes the poor into a client state.

Why not create a program called Light Their Need giving cigarette vouchers to the poor? Tobacco farmers probably need assistance too.

MARTHA ROSENBERG can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net

 

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail