Holman said his efforts are “at the dot-matrix stage,” as printing was in the early 1980s. “I can print out smoothies and Cliff Bars.” Many forms of confections could be produced through 3D printing. Eliminate waste Another important reason to turn to 3D printed foods is to address the wildly inefficient way that developed countries, especially the U.S., handle the food they produce. For example, Americans must drive to a store, buy their groceries, store it in cupboards, refrigerators and freezers, and yet, most consumers end up throwing out about 40 percent of the food they buy. “Every grocery store throws out 2000 pounds of expired food a week,” he said. “We’re good at figuring out how to make enough food and make it efficiently. Where we’re not efficient is in the last mile between the store and your mouth. “So now, I’m imagining, what if I had a machine with three buttons on it: ‘What I ate yesterday’; ‘what Beyonce likes’; and ‘I’m feeling lucky’,” Holman said. By pressing a button, the 3D printer, using a precise printer head, would put down just a pixel of food at a time, hydrating it with a needle, cooking it with a laser and repeating the process for every pixel until an entire meal is on the plate. 3D-printed food could also offer a method of tracking with pinpoint precision the effects any given food has on an individual. Because the amount of each food is measured precisely, the printer could record nutrient data, and a person’s health in reaction to food could be studied over a lifetime. Printed food could even include your daily dose of medicine. “This meal is customized for you. It avoids allergens and injects your pharmaceuticals,” he said. “It knows about what you’ve eaten before.
Many said this action amounted to an attack on those who could least afford it; others called it immoral and unprecedented. Here is a selection of those letters. — Paul Thornton, letters editor Altadena resident J.H. Benson questions the GOP ‘s morality: “House Republicans are badly in need of a moral compass. Their hypocrisy is only surpassed by their cruelty. “The GOP says that the 4 million Americans who will be kicked off SNAP are capable of helping themselves. I hope that our very capable farmers aren’t being subsidized while this assistance to the poor is deemed too expensive.” Long Beach resident Matthew Black points out more pressing spending concerns: “The GOP has truly hit a new low. After increasing annual defense spending by more than $300 billion since 2001, spending $2 trillion on unnecessary wars and passing $1.7 trillion in tax cuts between 2001 and 2003 that primarily went to the wealthiest Americans, Republicans need to save $40 billion on food stamps. “Way to go. Why do I feel I’m reading a Charles Dickens novel? “And for those who might reply that Democrats should put their money where their mouths are, this week I donated another $250 to a local food bank. I contribute 5% of my disposable income to food banks.” Frances Terrell Lippman of Sherman Oaks picks up on the Dickens reference: “I guess those Scrooge-like, coldhearted House Republicans thought of an early holiday surprise. How generous of them to think it would be appropriate just to remind people who are hungry and struggling that it would get a little more impossible for them to feed their families. Their apathy is only exceeded by their cruelty.
Fight over food stamps
A new Congressional Research Service report released this month showed fiscal year 2012 was the 12th year in a row a new historical high was reached for federal food and nutrition programs, the vast majority of which is food stamps. Since fiscal year 2000, the report said, spending on federal food assistance has more than tripled. Put in a different context, the U.S. Census Bureau said food stamps lifted 4 million Americans out of poverty last year if the benefits were counted as income. What states are doing Kansas is the latest to embrace the cuts, ending a federal waiver on Oct. 1 that allows unemployed, non-elderly and able-bodied adults without children to remain on food stamps despite failing to meet certain work requirements. The change is expected to affect 20,000 Kansans. Wisconsin will let its waiver expire in July 2014, and Oklahoma will also let its waiver at the end of this month; 71,000 and 47,000 people, respectively, received benefits through the waiver in 2011, the latest year for which data is available. The waivers, part of the 1996 welfare reform, were designed to give states flexibility in times of high unemployment. It suspends a requirement that limits benefits to three months unless recipients work 20 hours a week or spend a certain amount of time on work-related activities, such as job training. Until this year, 45 states took advantage of the waiver during the recession, and two that did not Vermont and New Hampshire weren’t eligible for statewide coverage, which is based on unemployment and job market data. Delaware and Utah chose not to request a waiver, while Wyoming wasn’t eligible.