A November 2008 article in National? Geographic News reported that most fast food is made of corn. Of the hundred? meals bought for the research study, only 12 servings of anything were found to? not go straight back to a corn source. The study revealed that some form of? corn was the main ingredient in most fast food items. “The end result is a food? system rife with corn, which carries a host of health consequences,” according ?to article, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
While corn is a staple in American food — reminiscent of good home ?cooking — who would have thought corn would become a symbol of American culture? From fuel and the economy to fast food and pesticides, corn has become an icon ?of American values, in a variety of fields.
- Corn receives about 35% of all agricultural pesticides and 40% of all commercial fertilizer used in the U.S.
- Corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States, accounting for more than 90& of total value and production of feed grains.
- Around 80 million acres of land are planted to corn.
- Most of the crop is used as the main energy ingredient in livestock feed.
- Corn is also processed into a multitude of food and industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol.
- The United States is a major player in the world corn trade market, with approximately 20 percent of the corn crop exported to other countries.
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack,? formerly the governor of Iowa (the corn state), wants “aggressive action” from? the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the amount of ethanol in? gasoline–from 10% of the blend to 15 %.
- Burning corn-based ethanol can cut? greenhouse-gas emissions by as much as 20% as compared to gasoline; it’s ?also renewable and plentiful in the U.S. However, it could increase smog ?in urban areas and potentially cause a shortage of corn if there is mass ?production.
- Federal corn subsidies totaled $37.3 billion between?1995 and 2003–more than twice the amount spent on wheat subsidies, three times ?the amount spent on soybeans and 70 times the amount spent on tobacco.