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26 Aug, 2010 21:09

Fat in America, Part 2

American food policy has resulted in increasing rates of obesity, particularly among lower-class, minority populations.

"My father swears by this, he said back in the day, poor people were skinny, now poor people are obese," said Dr. Rani Whitfield of Family Practice and Sports Medicine.

In of one of the very few black neighborhoods in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, nearly everything on the shelves is made with genetically modified products. You can literally pick up anything and see the same genetically modified ingredients like “high fructose corn syrup.”

In a higher income neighborhood, outside Whole Foods, an organic supermarket, customers blanched at the thought of buying genetically modified products.

“It doesn't look healthy," said one shopper.

“I can't read half the ingredients on that thing and if I can't read it, I won't eat it," said another.

At the introduction of her Let’s Move campaign to reduce obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama said:“Between what’s in our food and how much we eat, Americans now consume more calories, fat and sugar today than ever before.”

Obama has made childhood obesity her main issue to tackle during her time as First Lady. With one in every three kids obese in the US, childhood obesity is becoming more serious than adult obesity. She is encouraging Americans to plant gardens and eat healthy foods.

"It's ironic that on the one hand, Michelle Obama is planting an organic garden, on the other hand President Obama has put Michael Taylor in charge as the US Food Safety czar. Under Michael Taylor's watch, the FDA said no testing necessary at all, no labeling on GMOs. He later went on to become the vice president for Monsanto and now he is in charge of the safety of the US food supply. In addition, Obama has placed many key pro Monsanto or key GMO people in key positions in the USDA and elsewhere," said biotech analyst Jeffrey Smith.

These former Monsanto executives are the people making key decisions, not only for the American food supply but also for the American products exported to the world.

"They are supposed to be protecting the people, but what it seems to me is the Department of Agriculture is protecting and promoting Monsanto," said Phil Geertson.

What’s left of America’s organic farming industry is familiar with Monsanto’s stranglehold on the US market. Phil Geertson of Geertson Seeds in Idaho took Monsanto to the Supreme Court because of claims its Roundup Ready Alfalfa seeds were contaminating his farm lands.

David Snively, the general counsel for Monsanto, said: “This product will be out there, so farmers need to coexist."

Geertson lost the case and Monsanto won. Winning means losing to the world market, especially when the European Union and other Western nations like New Zealand refuse American food products because of their ingredients and the lack of labeling.

"It's incredible what is going on," said Geerton

Obesity, corporate takeover and the future of America’s health…these are all looming concerns as Americans continue to bite into genetically altered foods. It’s a lot to swallow for a country where there's an abundance of food and an increasing waistband stretching from high echelons of the government to your dinner table.

George Hemminger of Survive and Thrive TV spoke to RT about the US Food Modernization Act. The act is supported by corporate food interests and opposed by local farming, organic, raw, and natural food groups.

This is a bill designed for the corporate government monopolies and considering the economic situation right now it’s totally absurd,” said Hemminger.

The bill further bans individuals from removing, cleaning and storing seeds, which would essentially end private and local farms.

In the current market a large number of private and small farms have been formed, people growing their own food and selling the surplus to friend and neighbors. The bill would target these individuals by regulating them out of existence.

This is just one in many steps our government has taken to partner with big large corporations. I mean, this is a sense this is fascism, this is corporatism, it is leading to the destruction of our economy,” said Hemminger.

He argued that eventually the people are going to have to rise up and take the politicians out of office to stop the government from creating such laws and regulation.

Growing your own food should be as natural as eating your own food” said Hemminger.

Corporate interests control the food and agricultural supply, which dominates the way American eat. Until that changes health will not change.

We should have diversification of the food supply, not centralization of it,” added Hemminger.