Monday, February 19, 2018

Big Sugar lobbyist now making dietary guidelines for United States ... by gimleteye

Donald Trump -- the most ethically challenged president in US history -- recently granted a waiver for a former corn syrup lobbyist to write the nation's dietary guidelines for the USDA. (Prior to that, she worked for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on sugar subsidies, and earlier, cut her teeth working for the Koch Brothers.)

Kailee Tkacz represented the Corn Refiners Association, which consists of the four biggest corn syrup producers in the nation: Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill, Ingredion and Tate & Lyle Americas, whose European operations were sold to the Fanjul's Florida Crystals empire in 2010.

The New York Times points out today in an editorial, "Trump's 'Best People' and Their Dubious Ethics":
President Trump’s White House has been so scandal-plagued that controversies involving cabinet members and other high-level officials that would have been front-page news in any other administration have barely registered in the public consciousness.

Floridians health and environment is being sacrificed for sugar, one of the most heavily subsidies agricultural commodities in the US Farm Bill
There should be no need to remind that the costs to US healthcare from over-consumption of sugar exceed $1 trillion ANNUALLY, or, that excess sugar consumption can trigger inflammation of all kinds, from diabetes to cancer. At Eye On Miami, we've written extensively on the corrosive influence of Big Sugar on Florida politics and, in particular, a water management system converting once pristine natural resources into pale and toxic remnants.

According a recent report by the International Business Times:
(Kailee) Tkacz was director of food policy for the Corn Refiners Association, a trade group for corn syrup manufacturers, for two years before immediately leaving for the Trump administration in July 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile. Before that, she lobbied for the Snack Food Association and the National Grocers Association. Prior to her lobbying days, she spent a year as a research analyst on tax policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of corporations and conservative lawmakers that work together to craft business-friendly model legislation, and a year at the Charles Koch Institute, named after its billionaire founder and the CEO and part-owner of the global fossil fuel and materials conglomerate Koch Industries.
Voters for Republican office-holders are to blame for the Trump and GOP fiasco.

But Democrats are under Big Sugar's spell, too. Outgoing Florida state senate president Joe Negron complains the absence of Democratic support, except for Jose Javier Rodriguez from Miami-Dade (now running for Congress), caused his 2017 Everglades reservoir bill to pass without sufficient storage and cleansing marshes to guarantee protection of water quality from Big Sugar's toxic farm runoff. Big Sugar hit the Democrats hard, like senate minority leader Oscar Braynon.

The cost of the Negron misadventure, not to mention delayed decade, to fix the badly damaged Everglades and estuaries? At least $1.6 billion.

Remember Michele Obama's campaign "Let's get America moving!", to reduce childhood obesity through healthy school dietary programs? Big Sugar killed that initiative, too, thundering in the White House political office it wouldn't hesitate to use its political muscle in key midwestern states where corn syrup in king. (The Dems who lost, anyway, might consider developing a pair of balls when it comes to Big Sugar.)

In the Farm Bill Florida's sugarcane growers cannily tie their own subsidies to the price of corn syrup, guaranteeing that they have the protection of the midwest voting bloc to protect their corporate welfare.

It is a system that stinks to high heaven, all for a commodity that is more addictive than cocaine. Sugar. Republican voters -- and Dems, too -- should remember that, next time they head to the polls.

1 comment:

Marty Baum said...

Thanks Alan.