The Corpus Callosum

How refreshing: a Presidential appointee speaks out
against Administration policy.  This is from a Medscape
article (free registration), which is from 
Reuters Heath Information
. The report quotes a professor of
Immunology who is on the President’s
Cancer Panel
at the .  Margaret
Kripke Ph.D
. is well qualified, being one of the senior
researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Panel Attacks U.S. Food Subsidies

By Maggie Fox

WASHINGTON (Reuters) Aug 16 – A new
report on cancer takes
on not only tobacco companies but the food industry while calling on
the federal government to “cease being a purveyor of unhealthy foods”
and switch to policies that encourage Americans to eat vegetables and

…”Ineffective policies, in conjunction with limited regulation of
sales and marketing in the food and beverage industry, have spawned a
culture that struggles to make healthy choices — a culture in dire
need of change,” said the report, available on the Internet at

Margaret Kripke of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson cancer center,
a member of the President’s Cancer Panel, said in a telephone
interview, “What became clear to me is that we simply don’t have the
political will to protect the public health.”…

In direct contradiction to the President’s stated policy, the Panel
advocates an increase in the tax on cigarettes.  It also
recommends having the FDA regulate tobacco products.

What’s more, the report described Federal policies as “ineffective.”
 The authors called for more regulation of the sales and
marketing of food and beverages.  They go on to criticize the
policies behind farm subsidies:

“We heavily subsidize the growth of foods
(e.g., corn, soy) that in their processed forms (e.g., high fructose
corn syrup, hydrogenated corn and soybean oils, grain-fed cattle) are
known contributors to obesity and associated chronic diseases,
including cancer,” the report reads.

“The people who are doing the U.S. agricultural subsidies
need to connect their subsidies with the policy on public health and I
don’t think that has been done,” Kripke said.

Dr. Kripke is recommending that our agricultural policies be
consistent with our public health policies.  This would keep
two different parts of the government from working at cross-purposes,
which seems sensible to me.


  1. #1 Greg P
    August 17, 2007

    Yes, we just don’t have the political will to become a totalitarian government.
    It’s all the fault of those food-producers — people would obviously eat healthy, if only they were given a chance.
    We need everyone on a controlled diet; let’s go into the supermarkets, yank the bad food off the shelves, put it in the landfill. Let’s get rid of alcohol. Let’s send out the health police to rap on doors at 6am to get people out exercising. And we’ll cut off access to health care and sterilize them if they don’t comply — just let them die like the slimy scum that they are.

  2. #2 Jeb, FCD
    August 17, 2007

    It amazes how quickly people like Greg P. will jump take a ride on the slippery slope fallacy, especially when it comes to sensible recommendations.

    Greg, where in the above are you even given the inkling of totalitarianism? What is wrong with our ag. policies being inline with our public health policies?

  3. #3 Joseph j7uy5
    August 17, 2007

    Certainly there are those who would try to impose excessive regulation. Really my main point is that someone who was appointed by the President was bold enough to speak out. The point she made about wanting policies to be consistent is fair. Although it may not be appropriate for the government to do thinks like banning trans fats, at least they could stop actively promoting the use of things like high-fructose corn syrup. If we are going to subsidize agriculture, why not put the subsidies where they will promote health?

  4. #4 Greg P
    August 17, 2007

    Ok, so we want farmers to only accept subsidies if their corn isn’t going to make high fructose corn syrup?
    Where do we go to say that someone is doing something bad/illegal?
    Do we want to live in a society where all these decisions are made for us, that everyone has some pack of bureaucratic hounds on their scent?

    We’ve got an administration that wants to open public lands to go after energy sources, timber, and then someone gets their underwear in a twist about “subsidizing high-fructose corn syrup”?

  5. #5 stumpy
    August 17, 2007

    Greg P, subsidizing high-fructose corn syrup is not a trivial transgression. Take a look at the first section of Michael Pollan’s recent book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, for a thorough overview of the effects, consequences and ramifications of King Corn. Also, I for one have enough underwear fabric to accomodate lots of twists.

  6. #6 Jeb, FCD
    August 17, 2007

    Greg P,

    Actually we don’t need the nanny-state to subsidize any farmers. They’re all extrememly large, exponentially self-sufficient corporations anyway.

New comments have been disabled.