‘True Cost’ of American Food Is Three Times as Much as Consumers Pay
- Total Posts: 9,978
The United States spends $1.1 trillion a year on food. But when the impacts of the food system on different parts of our society — including rising health care costs, climate change and biodiversity loss — are factored in, the bill is around three times that, according to a report by the Rockefeller Foundation, a private charity that funds medical and agricultural research.
Using government statistics, scientific literature and insights from experts across the food system, the researchers quantified things like the share of direct medical costs attributable to diet and food, as well as the productivity loss associated with those health problems. They also looked at how crop cultivation and ranching, and other aspects of U.S. food production impacted the environment. Focusing on the production, processing, distribution, retail and consumption stages of the food system (not including food service), they evaluated what it would cost to restore people’s health, wealth or environment back to an undamaged state, as well as the cost of preventing a recurrence of the problems.
“Realizing a better food system requires facing hard facts. We must accurately calculate the full cost we pay for food today to successfully shape economic and regulatory incentives tomorrow,” asserts the introduction to the report, written by the foundation’s food research group.
Health impacts are the biggest hidden cost of the food system, with more than $1 trillion per year in health-related costs paid by Americans, with an estimated $604 billion of that attributable to diseases — such as hypertension, cancer and diabetes — linked to diet. In calculating the financial burden of environmental problems, the researchers evaluated direct environmental impacts of farming and ranching on greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion and soil erosion. They also looked at reduced biodiversity, which lowers ecosystems’ productivity and makes food supplies more vulnerable to pests and disease. They determined the unaccounted costs of the food system on the environment and biodiversity add up to almost $900 billion per year.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
July 20, 2021 at 5:54 PM #436007Average GazooParticipant
- Total Posts: 563
The government keeps the farming industry on life support while the biggest profits go to processors who get it cheap and then sell at the highest margins.
If we are serious about mitigating global heating we would do well to stop measuring standard of living by dollars spent and instead turn to fewest hours worked, highest health levels, life expectancy, infant mortality and suicide rates.
Be the Change
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.