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The Decline Of The Tortilla In Mexico Signifies Broader, Deeper Social Ills

December 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST


In a tiny city southeast of Mexico City in the state of Oaxaca, a unionized group of handmade tortilla producers is fighting keep the Millennia-old tradition alive in the face of cheap competition. The inexpensive versions sold in the city’s 25 tortillería shops are made with industrially produced masa harina, or corn flour, like Gruma’s Maseca. The larger problem is that Mexicans in cities and in the countryside are simply eating fewer tortillas, and eating more bread and fast food. Consumption has dropped nearly 45 percent in the last 35 years to 125 pounds per person in 2016 from 225 pounds in 1982. Experts say the perilous state of the tortilla is a red alert for Mexico's wider social ills, including obesity, poverty and emigration.[Image Credit: © RociH from Pixabay]
Shaun Pett, "The Fight to Save the Traditional Tortilla", The New York Times, December 26, 2018, © The New York Times Company
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