The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) has released a September 21, 2011, report claiming that federal agricultural subsidies are largely allocated to commodity crops such as soybeans and corn instead of fresh produce. Titled “Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food,” the report alleges that, of the $260 billion spent on agriculture between 1995 and 2010, $16.9 billion subsidized “four common food additives—corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils (which are frequently processed further into hydrogenated vegetable oils),” while only $262 million went to apple crops, “the only significant federal subsidy of fresh fruits or vegetables.” According to CALPIRG, these allocations are the equivalent of giving individual taxpayers enough to buy 19 Twinkies® each year “but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple apiece.”

“This wasteful spending not only squanders taxpayer dollars: by fueling the crisis of childhood obesity, the subsidies damage our country’s health and increase the medical costs that will ultimately need to be paid to treat the effects of the obesity epidemic,” opines the report, which urges U.S. agricultural policy reform. “Taxpayers are paying for the privilege of making our country sick… Subsidies to large agribusinesses are egregious enough on their own; the fact that the subsidies go to junk food adds insult to injury.”