Oh, America, have we got troubles with our tummies — and with the industrial system that pumps junk into them. One in six kids is obese. Half a billion potentially tainted eggs were recalled after sickening thousands with salmonella this year. (On the bright side, it’s a pleasant change from summer’s usual E. coli alerts.) Giant hog factories make life unbearable not just for the pigs, but for their neighbors in Iowa and North Carolina (although some fight back).
Basically, if you’re someone who tries to eat like you give a damn, you can quickly feel like it’s all going to hell.
Or, you can get even. While we at Grist like to focus on the positive as much as possible, all the community gardens and organic farmers in the world can’t stop the tsunami of 99-cent feedlot burgers and head-scratching political appointments. This is our attempt to root out who’s currently keeping America sick, fat, and poisoned: a preliminary list of a Dirty Dozen rotten eggs spoiling our food system. Cast your vote, or write in your candidate in the comments below, and let’s see who’s food’s Public Enemy No. 1 — and plot what we can do to stop them.
And now, read more about the culprits’ crimes on the following pages, then vote for your villain of choice in our poll below:
Update: The results are in:
Who is food’s Public Enemy No. 1?
- 57.2 percent — Monsanto
- 14.9 percent — The Ag Committees, House and Senate
- 8.3 percent — Ronald McDonald, fast-food icon
- 9.7 percent — Smithfield
- 2.6 percent — Roger Beachy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture
- 2.4 percent — Bayer CropScience
- 2.3 percent — Rick Berman, lobbyist
- 2.3 percent — Jack DeCoster, chick magnate
- 2.3 percent — Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association
- 1.6 percent — Patricia Woertz, CEO, chairman, and president of Archer Daniels Midland
- 1.4 percent — Paula Deen, TV food personality
- 1 percent — Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution