Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, released a report today that says the federal government has spent at least $2 billion on overseas marketing for many of the biggest names among U.S. food industry corporations even though those firms generated combined sales of more than $2 billion.
The subsidies come through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program (MAP). Among the examples cited by Coburn in a statement released with the report were these:
* Blue Diamond Growers almond company has received more than $28 million from MAP since 1999 to market its almonds overseas.
* The Reality TV fashion and design show, Let's Design, received $20 million.
* Sunkist Growers received $34.1 million since 1999 to market its fresh fruit products.
* California raisin growers got $31.7 million since 1998 to promote their California Raisins brand overseas.
“At a time when we are cutting funding for our troops, taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the filming of Reality-TV shows in India, wine tastings for foreign journalists and even ads for pet shampoo,” Coburn said. “We need to make tough choices.”
You can read the full Coburn report here.