Film is a great way to inform yourself. It’s an entertaining art form that delivers a mountain of information in both visual images and narrative. Stories are told in many ways, and oftentimes this visual medium is much more effective in driving home the point than a technical book or report.
King Corn is just such a film. It’s a story about two young men from the East Coast of the US who grow one acre of corn in the midwest (Iowa) and track the movement of the grain from farmland to processing plants. What they learn along the way is most disturbing. Here are some of the highlights.
- Corn or substances made from corn, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), are added to just about every processed food available on supermarket shelves.
- Corn is not grown as a food stuff, but as “sugar.”
- Most of the protein has been bred out of the midwest corn, called “Yellow Dent,” leaving more starch, which is what makes us all fat.
- Yellow dent does not even taste good. It’s meant solely to be super-processed into various forms of sweeteners.
- Corn as a crop is heavily subsidized by the US government (read, US taxpayers). The US Govt subsidizes corn to keep the price down; that is, so it will remain cheap. If it is cheap, large corporations can inexpensively add it to sweeten their products like cereals, soft drinks, boxed cakes, processed foods, etc.
- Some of it is fed back to animals to fatten them up, but in a form that most people would not recognize as corn.
- Unfortunately, most of the farm animals cannot digest corn, so they begin to suffer and die. They are just raised and fattened long enough (6 mos.) to sell the animal for a good profit to the meat industry, which doesn’t care how they got fat. When we eat a steak, we are eating corn!
- Farmers use genetically modified seeds (with herbicides right inside the kernel) and powerful herbicides applied to the fields to produce the corn. This is all passed along to the people who eat the product.
I grew up in the midwest, and in those days, corn was a food crop, not just for animals. The stuff they’re producing there now, at my expense and that of every US taxpayer, is more like a poison. It is causing a rise in adult-onset diabetes (Type 2) and many other health problems related to obesity.
Not only does this make me sad, but it makes me wonder why we have to keep subsidizing the corn crop at all!
If this stuff (Yellow dent corn) they’re raising is eagerly bought by large “food” corporations and the cattle industry in the U.S. for use as additives (sweeteners and fatteners for cattle), then why don’t the corporations pay the just price of this additive product? Why don’t they charge the real price of a liter of Coke or Pepsi that includes the real price of the sweetener that is turning Americans into obese consumers with a host of health problems?
Perhaps if they had to pay the real price for that liter of Coke or Orange Soda, they wouldn’t buy it at all. Then I wouldn’t have to subsidize the profits of large corporations. I might have more money to spend on my family for clean, healthy, organic food.