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Biggest Ever Study of Food Banks Warns Use Likely to Increase

Great Britain has just completed a study of food banks and who’s using them, The Guardian reports. The findings suggest that food security is nonexistent for some people, with many living in abject poverty and going full days without food. Only 1 in 6 households using U.K. food banks had someone in the family who works; two-thirds of those using the banks were aged 24 to 39.

If nothing else, this shows that food insecurity is not just a problem for developing countries. Like the U.K., the U.S. also has massive numbers of people relying on food banks and food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Also like the U.K., officials in the U.S. have been taking a look at how food assistance works — or doesn’t — in this country. What they found is that soda is the No. 1 purchase made by SNAP households. As a result many people are calling for a revamp of the SNAP program, to exclude soda as an eligible purchase.

While it's easy to argue against soda, I’d go a step further and look at what’s at the roots of food insecurity. Whether you’re rich or poor, the Earth absolutely has to have a sustainable food system to address everyone’s needs — and that system is not going to work as long as we continue to push genetically-engineered monocrops that use devastating pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to produce junk food filled with empty calories in the form of carbs and sugars.

Whether you’re buying soda with your own money or food stamps, consumers are often in the dark about the quality of what they’re eating, as modern-day food practices continue to rely on unstainable methods. Studies show that eating organic foods reduces pesticide exposure, improves the nutritional value of the food, lessens disease risk and improves early childhood development — something that food programs everywhere should consider when offering assistance.
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