The Food Industry's Propaganda Campaign Against Ethanol

The food industry spent considerable time and money in 2007 and 2008 turning the public against ethanol, using underhanded tactics and misleading information. As you talk about the Open Fuel Standard to your friends and family, you will find that the food industry's propaganda campaign was fairly successful. For a lot of people, as soon as you bring up the word "ethanol," they have a strong negative reaction to it. Growing our own fuel will raise food prices, they will be quick to tell you. It will cause starvation and "it takes more energy to make than you get out of it."

Where did these strong beliefs come from? They were orchestrated by a combination of the livestock industry, the big food corporations, and the oil industry.

The oil industry is understandable. But why the food industry? Because the processed food conglomerates want grain to be as cheap as possible. High fructose corn syrup in particular is a widely used and important sweetener for the food industry, particularly for carbonated beverages.

A little known fact, however, is that when grains are too abundant and too inexpensive it causes major problems with food growers in America. And America's cheap grain on the world market has ruined the livelihoods of small farmers around the world.

Because American farmers were so successful at growing corn, their high yields threatened to bankrupt them because they couldn't sell their corn for enough money to stay in business. In fact, the ethanol industry in the U.S. was a solution to that problem. They searched for other markets for their corn, and found ethanol.

But the processed food industry liked the days of overabundant, ultra-cheap grain, so they mounted a campaign against the ethanol industry, blaming ethanol on rising food costs, even though it was clear that rising oil prices had the largest impact on rising food prices. But food lobbyists teamed up with lobbyists from the livestock industry to ruin the U.S. ethanol industry. The livestock industry likes cheap grain too. The cheaper the better. 

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