Seven months after saying he would put more emphasis on food safety, FDA commissioner Robert Califf announced the appointment of James Jones as the agency’s first deputy commissioner for human foods on Wednesday. Jones, a former EPA pesticide regulator, was a member of a task force calling for unified leadership on food safety duties that have been scattered among FDA offices.
Nearly one in 10 people worldwide suffer from hunger, an increase of 150 million since the pandemic struck in 2020, and the numbers are sure to worsen, said the annual UN hunger report on Wednesday. “The global price spikes that we are seeing as a result of the crisis in Ukraine threaten to push countries around the world into famine,” said the leader of the World Food Program.
Recent polls show that a majority of Americans are concerned about climate change and willing to make lifestyle changes to address it. Other surveys show that many U.S. consumers are worried about possible health risks of eating food produced with pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. One way to address all of these concerns is to expand organic agriculture. Organic production generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional farming, largely because it doesn’t use synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. And it prohibits using synthetic pesticides and giving hormones or antibiotics to livestock. (No paywall)
The coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted food supplies and heightened food insecurity, should be the impetus for unified oversight of the food system, now splintered among dozens of regulatory agencies, said an "urgent call" for action from groups at the Harvard and Vermont law schools on Thursday.
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio has resigned from the board of Food Policy Action, which he co-founded in 2012 as the lobbying arm of the food movement on U.S. food and ag policy. Colicchio said on Instagram that he would “continue to do the work of championing a more just and equitable food system in everything I do and from every platform available to me.”
Congress "is falling short when it comes to food policy, showing little progress" this year, says Food Policy Action, established in 2012 as the food movement's voice in Washington. In releasing its annual scorecard of members of the House and Senate, the group said the average score was 49 percent, down from the 57 percent average of the two-year 114th Congress, which ended in 2016.
With an eye to grooming leaders in U.S. food policy, a Washington-based university is launching a one-year program to prepare graduates to take a guiding hand in resolving climate change and food inequalities. Former deputy agriculture secretary Kathleen Merrigan says the Food Policy Leadership Institute will "supercharge" the work of the Food Institute that she leads at George Washington University.
Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a sponsor of a bill to prohibit “lunch shaming” at public schools, is taking a second legislative avenue toward federal action: a directive for the USDA to issue national standards on how schools should handle school-lunch debts.
Seven U.S. cities, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, have adopted so-called soda taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages since November 2014. Now researchers say they’ve identified three factors for success in such efforts.
Since their first appearance in health-centric stores more than a decade ago, the Kind company’s fruit-and-nut bars have become ubiquitous, occupying an ever-expanding sprawl of shelf space in big box stores and gas stations across the country. The company has thrived on a do-gooder ethos that encourages not just healthy eating, but righteous living. Employees who witness “random acts of kindness” are encouraged to bestow the company’s products on good samaritans. Kind is now a $1-billion company.
Four environmental and food groups launched a campaign to make food policy an element of the presidential campaign as a step toward assuring that the next president is committed to reform. "Candidates need to realize that food is a big issue," said food writer Mark Bittman.
Four food-policy advocates called on presidential aspirants to spell out their views on a coordinated U.S. food policy with the intention of declaring a National Food Policy within weeks of taking office in January 2017. "Production and consumption of food has a bigger impact on Americans' well-being than any other human activity," write Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador and Olivier De Schutter.
Kathleen Merrigan, who helped craft the organic food law in 1990 as a Senate staffer and implement it a decade later at USDA, "is an agricultural policy workhorse who calls the public policy arena her 'playground,'" says a profile story at Greenwire.
The International Food Policy Research Institute says five fast-growing, middle-income nations -- Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Mexico -- also are home to nearly half the hungry people of the world.
Former deputy agriculture secretary Kathleen Merrigan will become a co-chair of the AGree farm-policy initiative, succeeding Gary Hirshberg, founder of the organic food company Stonyfield Farm. Hirshberg is a leader in the campaign to label GMO foods. As a Senate staff worker, Merrigan had a key role in legislation creating the national organic program in 1990 and in implementing it nearly a decade later at the USDA. She was deputy secretary from 2009-13.
With the departure of nutrition policy advisor Sam Kass, who also was personal chef for the Obama family, the administration "is set to lose its behind-the-scenes food policy general at the end of the month, right as a Republican Congress plans an assault...
Along with an essay in the Washington Post, backers of a national food policy are running a petition campaign on the Internet that calls on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order spelling out a policy. The Union of Concerned Scientists, host of a petition site, says a national policy "will transform our food system to ensure healthy, sustainably grown food for all."
The three-year-old AGree project on food and agriculture policy "is pivoting into action," said co-chair Gary Hirshberg during a "Future of Food" forum.