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GOVERNING THE DIETARY TRANSITION 197


industry resistance. One clear source of this crisis has been excessive calorie intake from beverages, including juices, dairy drinks, alcohol, and especially sweetened soft drinks. Beverages provide Americans twice as many calories today as they did in 1965, with more than two-thirds of the increase coming from sweetened fruit juices and soft drinks. There is no federal taxation of sweetened beverages in the United States, even


though public health advocates have long called for such taxes to both discourage soft drink consumption and help pay the public cost of managing its consequences. The American Beverage Association—the organization that represents the beverage industry—spent US$18.9 million on lobbying in 2009 to stop a proposed small tax on the sale of sweetened soft drinks that would have helped pay for the US federal health bill. The beverage industry in the United States has also gained excessive influ-


ence inside the executive branch of the federal government. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declined to require that the amount of sugars or calories per container (not per serving) be included on cans and bottles. Regulatory cap- ture by food and beverage industry groups is also visible within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Even though it performs valuable nutrition functions, the USDA also houses a nonprofit corporation called Dairy Management Inc, which is dedicated to increasing the consumption of dairy products, including cheese. Americans already eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year—nearly triple the level consumed in 1970; it has become the largest source of saturated fat in American diets. Taking an integrated or multisector approach to governance is not always an


adequate solution at Stage Three. For example, every five years the US Congress enacts a cross-sector policy measure, known as the farm bill, that contains both a farm and a nutrition policy component, but the impact for each sector falls well short of good governance. The farm programs include poorly targeted income subsidies to wealthy commercial growers that waste taxpayer money and distort markets. President George W. Bush actually tried to veto the 2008 farm bill on the grounds that it was wasteful, but Congress still enacted it by wide majorities in both houses. The nutrition programs it enabled provide a valuable consumption subsidy to low-income citizens, but some of the programs are not necessarily well tailored to improve nutrition. The largest federal nutrition program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), enables 40 million participants to use the benefits they receive to purchase candy, soft drinks, and junk food. When proposals are made to eliminate sugary soft drinks from eligibility for purchase under this program, the beverage industry mobilizes to turn those proposals aside (Hartocollis 2010).


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