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The Real Cost of Food

Touch the Soil News #266

The total costs associated with food are often not included in its price at the grocery store. There is a growing movement to fully identify the full cost of food which may not be the price paid at the grocery store, but include taxes to cover farm subsidies, health care costs from food chemical poisoning and obesity and subsidies given to food-chain workers who don’t earn enough to live.

We could afford to buy the highest quality of food if we did not have to indirectly pay the costs of food which have been externalized (photo courtesy of Jaskarn Dhatt)

At the head of the movement is Foodtank (http://foodtank.com/).  The mission of this non-profit organization is to aid in fixing a broken food system. Part of that effort is to discover what is the real cost of food – an effort they are now gearing up to . So far they have found some interesting facts about the cost of food which is not attached to the price paid at the grocery store.

  1. Excess weight and obesity costs $2 trillion globally in healthcare costs
  2. Subsidies and insurance to farmers in the U.S. costs taxpayers $20 billion annually.
  3. Antibiotic resistance costs $55 billion per year in the U.S.
  4. Low wages paid by companies such as McDonald’s costs U.S. taxpayers $153 billion a year in government assistance programs.
  5. Endocrine disrupting chemicals found in pesticides cost the EU €157 billion per year.

Following is a short video clip that explores the full cost of food and the subsidies low priced foods require.

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