Various recent conversations have gotten me thinking about class warfare, and about the relationship between class and access to nutritious food. Unsurprisingly, the more I thought about it, the more it seems to me that lack of access to nutritious food is an instance of class warfare. Especially in a nation where the government pays farmers to produce a surplus, and buys that surplus wherever the market won't absorb it. So here's a particular instance where it seems to me that the lack of access to nutritious food is an instance of class warfare.
In many cities in America the government has banned the use of trans fats in restaurant foods. Trans fats primarily come from hydrogenated oils (look for "partially hydrogenated oil" in the ingredient list) and were initially thought to be better for you than saturated fat. Hence the "margarine is better for you than butter" shtick. But now research has established that trans fats are really, really bad for you in a number of ways. So it's great that they've banned it in restaurants. But it seems strange to me that they haven't banned it anywhere else, like in schools, prisons, daycares, senior centers, and government food programs. Why is it that the more government funding a food program gets, the more likely it is that everything they serve has trans fat in it? Why does the same government that bans it in restaurants with one hand turn around and serve it to low-income children and seniors, not to mention prisoners and other institutionalized individuals, with the other hand? The cheap breads, crackers, cookies, pancakes, biscuits, and muffins made from mixes, peanut butter, and hydrogenated "butter" spreads used predominantly in institutional kitchens and given out in food assistance programs are full of trans fat. But nobody raises an outcry about this. In fact, nobody seems to notice. And if you're the one who points it out, you typically get the raised eyebrows or eyerolling "you sound like a conspiracy theorist" response.
So the deal is this. If you're poor enough to need government assistance, then nobody gives a fuck about the amount of trans fats in your diet. Whether you're directly receiving food from the government or trying to make your food stamp budget last all month, it's likely that most of the food you eat will contain trans fats, because trans fats are cheap. But if you're financially comfortable enough to eat out all the time, your diet will be low in trans fats, and your chances of having health problems, which you're also more likely to have adequate health care to cover, will be lower. See how that works? That, my friends, is an instance of class warfare.