Saturday, July 17, 2021

America's Hidden Food Costs

 Americans' grocery bills reflect only a third of a true cost of food, according to a new report, which evaluated factors including healthcare costs, spending associated with biodiversity loss, and the direct environmental impacts of farming and ranching to determine that the U.S. spends at least $3.2 trillion on food each year.

Officially the cost is believed to be $1.1 trillion, but as the Rockefeller Foundation explains in its report, True Cost of Food: Measuring What Matters to Transform the U.S. Food System, (pdf) "our food system rings up immense 'hidden costs' from its impact on human health, the environment, and social and economic inequity." It continues, "We're actually getting squeezed. Society pays that balance not out of our pockets but through other means like rising healthcare costs, effects of climate change, and food workers who are often underpaid and undervalued."

The report identifies human health impacts as the biggest hidden cost in the food system, amounting to $1.1 trillion per year, including $604 billion that's "attributable to healthcare costs related to diet-related diseases such hypertension, cancer, and diabetes."
"The additional costs are impacts from healthcare costs from workplace injuries, food insecurity and pollution, and additional costs attributable to obesity," reads the report.

The report reads "And, if we don't change our food system, future generations will pay those high costs, too."

"Clinicians should be demanding a transformation of our food system," tweeted Dr Gaurab Basu, co-director of the Center for Health Equity Education and Advocacy.

Including Environmental and Health Costs, True Price of Food Is 3 Times What Americans Pay, Report Finds | Common Dreams News

No comments: