Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"They Actually Eat That:" Corn. In EVERYTHING.

Along with the horrors of the beef industry, Food, Inc. also covered the most menacing thing on the farm: corn. Corn, which began as an innocent grain being cultured by native peoples, turned into the cheapest, easiest thing to grow. Big corporations pounced on it like foxes on a lame chicken. What the movie had to say about this supercrop blew my mind.


If you live in America, 95% of your diet loops back to corn. Chickens eat corn. Cows eat corn. The buns and dressings at Mickey D's utilize high-fructose corn syrup like nothing else. We're even training salmon to eat corn, now. Let's not forget popcorn and corn on the cob.  Nobody is safe from the corn monster. There are ways to tell how much corn is in one's diet by testing the DNA of a single strand of hair. Creepy.

While we're looking at corn, let's revisit high-fructose corn syrup. Just from the name, you can tell that it comes from corn. You can also tell by the word "syrup" that it is sweet; those of us more proficient in the sciences will know that "fructose" is a sugar. By deciphering the name alone, we can tell that this product is effectively "high sugar sugar, which just so happens to come from corn." We're going to ignore the possible mercury contamination for now and just think of "high sugar sugar" as pretty scary.

Remember, anything ending in "-ose"  is a sugar. Maltose, dextrose, and anything else with that ending is a sugar, and probably comes from corn. There is a 99% chance that everything ending in that dreaded "-ose" comes from corn. We could probably call them "children of the corn," but it's not like they'll be killi- oh, wait. Obesity epidemic. Right.

The problem is, corn works too well. We now have a surplus of corn. A lot of that corn is being used for ethanol, which takes more energy to make than it actually yields. We have biodegradable corn plastic. There are corn packing peanuts out there that taste exactly like unflavored Cheetos. Corn is literally in everything. Good gods, what if corn allergies started popping up?

Oh, and 85% of all corn in the United States has been spliced, mad scientist-style, into a grainy monster. Sleep well.

1 comment:

  1. The allergies are starting. I have a friend who can't eat anything with corn syrup in it. He said it's very difficult to find foods without it.