Corn and junk food (perhaps obvious, but still stunning)

November 5, 2010

This is a brief summary of an article that talks about how junk food is made and how their raw materials namely, corn and soybeans, are turned into “edible food-like substances” to quote  Michael Pollan.

It also provides specific examples of corn and soybeans applications in almost all processed foods. These two crops are used for many production systems like pharmaceuticals, industrial products, and for animal feeding.

It is amazing how much corn and soybeans are used in the production of Doritos. Want to know why corn use is so prevalent?

Margaret Webb, the author, states that a bushel of corn produces an estimated 440 two-ounce bags of 99-cent chips. From this, the corn farmer earns $3.70 for the bushel of corn while Doritos more than $440.

Many reports show that an incredibly small number of large food processors, retailers and other agricultural businesses are generating large profits manufacturing and supplying cheap foods by cannibalizing farmers’ incomes. They are forcing farmers into environmentally unsustainable practices.

A study of 720 Toronto families by Jenkins, a professor at the University of Toronto, studied the level of intervention required to make people eat healthier foods. He says it is a great challenge for everyone to turn their own family eating habits from processed foods to nutritional and natural foods like fruits, vegetables and meat.

According to Jenkins, in order to address this, we must first make some policy change like better food labelling, establishing good health claims on fruits and vegetables, educating people that healthy food is much cheaper in the long term than junk food because of the additional healthcare costs and government subsidies that increase the exploitation of corn farmers.


Webb, M. (2009). Where they grow our junk food. Retrieved on November 3, 2010, from–where-they-grow-our-junk-food.


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