Hubby noticed last night after having ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup (yum!) that he was feeling a bit shaky. He checked some labels and found the high-fructose corn syrup. . .in the corn syrup!

Man, this pisses me off. Why in the world would anyone need to add high-fructose corn syrup to corn syrup? I check labels all the time for this stuff, because even a small amount gives me the shakes – give me enough and you can even see me vibrate all over. It doesn’t affect the kids much, but I don’t want to give it to them, either, because it’s just not a good thing. It’s being used as a substitute for sugar because some smart dudes in DC decided that money spent on sugar was going out of the country, so we should manufacture a substitute here in the good ol’ USofA instead. So now subsidies (that’s your tax money and mine) are going to corn growers and processors. Lest you think that this is money that helps American farmers, let me put you straight – you have to grow a certain amount, so farmers who want to sell their corn either have to be giant corporations that own their own farmland, or small farmers who’ll take a lower price for their corn in exchange for a guarantee that it’ll be purchased. Joe Farmer, the one who’s supposed to benefit from this (err. . .the one the government wants everyone to think is benefitting, so that nobody complains about their tax dollars supporting corporations that are already turning a hefty profit, that is) is actually suffering a loss. He’s growing corn because it’s a sure sell, because if he were growing other crops, a bad season or poor market conditions could ruin him.

How else is this bad for us? Well, when the corporation tells Joe Farmer that he has to plant x number of acres of corn, and they’ll give him x number of dollars for him, they can also tell him that he needs to plant this particular variety to maximize production, and that variety is very likely a genetically modified one that is causing a lot of problems. For Joe, it means he has to buy a particular seed from a particular supplier at a set price. You don’t think the company making the rules for him is gonna give him the seed, do you? Oh, nononono. More impact on his profit margin, but again, he’s trying to bet on a sure thing. The bad part of this sure thing, though, is that in order to keep the soil viable, you need to rotate crops. After a few seasons, corn has sucked out all the nutrients it needs, and won’t grow well, so either you plant something else there that uses different nutrients (and allows the corn-favored ones to build up again) or you add fertilizers. For us, the fertilizers aren’t too good, because the manufacturing process is a big pollutant, and the runoff and seepage after it’s applied gets into waterways and underground water supplies, killing or poisoning fish, birds, and insects, and causing overgrowth of algae and plants that then lead to more problems for aquatic life and humans. For Joe, it’s another expense, because unless he’s really huge and makes a good living from alternate crops, he’s got to buy those fertilizers, which just so happen to be manufactured by the same folks who make the seed. All the money keeps going to the same place, and we’re supposed to believe that our taxes are supporting the US economy. It’s a big lie. Another side effect of the GMO corn and fertilizers is that it hurts other crops and pollinating insects. The seed is modified to contain Bacillus Thurigensis, which organic gardeners will use with caution to eliminate harmful insects. It’s a bacterium that’s a pretty potent insecticide. It’ll kill the insects that eat the crops, but it’ll also kill the insects that pollinate them. GMO corn is a big suspect in the disappearance of honeybees in the US. It’s also genetically engineered to be infertile. You can’t grow more corn from the corn kernels. This keeps the money coming to Monsanto, because they’re the only source for the seed. But if the corn cross-pollinates (not unlikely, because corn pollinates by wind) then other varieties will have that infertile gene, so they’ll be lost.

Now, what else happens? Let’s see. . .the subsidies make it more profitable to grow corn, so more corn is grown, and the more corn there is, the more money the “growers” and processors get, so they grow more than we need. Therefore, more uses for the excess have to be invented. There’s only so much high fructose corn syrup a person can eat – even an American living on packaged food. So, more uses for the excess corn have to be found. The starch can be used for packaging, which is an OK use, since it’s biodegradable. Some of it can be used for animal feed, which keeps all those chemicals and genetic material in the food chain, hurrah. Still, there’s too much. So they come up with ethanol. Woohoo! The government tells us that ethanol is good, because it’s a renewable resource and pollutes less than straight gasoline. A few people, people who have done actual studies (as opposed to government spin doctors, who believe all sort of crazy things) find that ethanol production creates more pollution than it saves, costs more to produce than gas, and wouldn’t be necessary to make if we didn’t grow so friggin’ much corn, are out-shouted by the government, which enacts laws to require that ethanol be added. This protects the corporations that are profiting from the subsidies AND the various corn products, thereby keeping the corporate subsidies to the government flowing as well. All the money people win. It’s like the circle of life. We’re always the antelopes, though.

But back to the corn syrup. I thought I didn’t feel it so much, because the pharmacy didn’t have one of my prescriptions, and I was all woozy from taking a five-hour nap earlier. Normally, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep because of the corn syrup, but I had other reasons for suspecting why I kept waking up. When I found out about my unknown consumption of the high-fructose crap, I realized that I could have been having problems because of that, as well. Yeah, I’ve blogged about this and ranted about the same thing before, but each time I find that despite my careful avoidance of the stuff, it’s been snuck into my body somehow it angers me again, and I have to say it again in case anyone missed it the first time. We are paying, over and over again, to make a product (and its by-products and corrolary products) that is bad for us, bad for the environment, bad for other plants and living creatures, all so that money stays in the pockets of major campaign contributors. And no matter how hard we try to avoid it, to vote with our spending money what we can’t avoid supporting with our tax dollars, it’s snuck in and forced on us.