Thousands Call for End to Junk Food Subsidies

Media Contacts

Congress: Ring in New Year by Reining in Billions of Wasted Taxpayer Dollars


Denver, CO – Over the next week, CoPIRG will deliver thousands of petitions to members of Congress calling on them to end federal subsidies that subsidize junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup.  The consumer advocacy group gathered the petitions from communities across Colorado as part of their campaign to Stop Subsidizing Obesity

“It doesn’t matter if you live in Durango or Denver, Steamboat Springs or Colorado Springs, we found thousands of Coloradans agree that Congress should ring in the new year by reining in the billions of wasted taxpayer dollars that only add to a growing obesity epidemic and skyrocketing debt,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG’s Director. 

CoPIRG generated the 4,201 petitions from every Colorado Congressional District in the state and will use the petitions to ask every member of Colorado’s Congressional District to commit to support the end of these harmful subsidies.  The petitions breakdown as follows:

  • District 1 – DeGette 1398
  • District 2 – Polis 1453
  • District 3 – Tipton 409
  • District 4 – Gardner 416
  • District 5 – Lamborn 113
  • District 6 – Coffman 191
  • District 7 – Perlmutter 221

“At a time when childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades, it’s absurd that we’re spending billions of taxpayer dollars to make the problem worse by subsidizing cheap doses of sweetness and fat,” said Katz.

Between 1995 and 2010, American taxpayers spent over $260 billion in agricultural subsidies. Most subsidies went to the country’s largest farming operations, mainly to grow just a few commodity crops, including corn and soybeans.  Among other uses, food manufacturers process these crops into additives like high fructose corn syrup and vegetable oils that provide a cheap dose of sweetness and fat to a wide variety of junk food products. 

A recent CoPIRG report, Apples to Twinkies, found that between 1995 and 2010, $16.9 billion in tax dollars went to subsidize four common junk food additives: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils, which are frequently processed further into the hydrogenated vegetable oils you often find on junk food packaging.  These additives are considered “empty calories” but receive massive taxpayer support.  

“At a time when government spending is coming under increasing scrutiny, it’s time for Congress to get its priorities straight,” said Katz. “We hope this clear message from Coloradans can convince our Colorado delegation to come together and end these subsidies so we can rein in our debt and stop subsidizing obesity.”

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CoPIRG – the Colorado Public Interest Research Group is a non-profit, non-partisan, consumer advocacy group.  For more information –