In “The Processing Plant,” Pollan attempts to track down what happens to the corn that is not sent to the feedlot. Much of it ends up in processing plants. Pollan distinguishes between a traditional mill, which grinds corn into flour to produce tortillas, and wet mills, which rely on a great deal of water, energy derived from fossil fuels, and steel tanks. These wet mills are like an artificial digestive system that breaks corn down into its molecular parts so it can be used to produce, among many other things, high-fructose corn syrup. Pollan explains that once corn is broken down...
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