The new farm bill should allow the purchase of hot foods with food stamps, said a letter signed by one-fifth of U.S. senators and representatives. The prohibition on hot food, in place since SNAP was created, "is no longer an accurate reflection of American families' dietary or lifestyle needs," said the lawmakers in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees.
Four years after it launched a test of online grocery shopping for SNAP recipients — which rapidly expanded during the pandemic — the Agriculture Department proposed the same shopping flexibility for households enrolled in the WIC program. "We agree with WIC participants and stakeholders — online grocery shopping and ordering is essential for busy Americans," said Agriculture deputy undersecretary Stacy Dean, who oversees WIC and other public nutrition programs.
Congress should expand SNAP, the premiere U.S. anti-hunger program, to all American territories in the new farm bill and test whether benefits tied to the purchase of fruits and vegetables would improve the diets of SNAP households, a high-powered task force proposed on Tuesday. The recommendations could add billions of dollars a year to SNAP outlays at a time when conservative Republicans want to cut its cost.
The Biden administration appointed 20 food and nutrition experts on Thursday to help overhaul the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide food-based recommendations to prevent diet-related chronic diseases.
Congress should "substantially scale up" programs like a produce prescription and nutrition incentive program at USDA and create a food box program to provide locally grown produce to Medicaid participants, said Sen. Cory Booker on Tuesday. "Food as medicine programs can be transformative," said the New Jersey Democrat during a Senate Agriculture subcommittee hearing on the issue.
The USDA said it would accelerate research into diet-related diseases on Monday as part of President Biden's "Cancer Moonshot" to reduce the cancer death rate by at least half over the next 25 years. "Precision nutrition," to fine-tune individual diets for health, will be one of the areas of study, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
More foods could carry the word “healthy” on the label under an FDA proposal announced on Wednesday, if they are part of a healthy dietary pattern and recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The agency said it was updating its criteria for the “healthy” label in hopes of improving the U.S. diet.
The Biden administration on Tuesday proposed panoramic action to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030, including a "pathway" to free school meals for all students, expansion of SNAP, development of front-of-package nutrition labels and a Medicare test of "food as medicine". The 44-page strategy was released ahead of the first White House hunger conference in half a century and when one in 10 American households was food insecure and millions of people suffered obesity and other diet-related illnesses.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said Wednesday that it had approved the sale of a genetically engineered tomato altered to change its color and enhance its nutritional quality. The purple tomato was developed to have high levels of anthocyanins, which are linked with health benefits.
More and more people were going hungry or lacking reliable access to food even before Covid-19 hit in 2020, and "the main effect of the pandemic was to sharply increase the deteriorating trend in food security" in low- and middle-income nations, said an Iowa think tank. "Most of the increase in the number of food-insecure people from Covid-19 in 2020 was driven by large Asian countries, particularly India, Bangladesh and Pakistan."
The food stamp program is a buy "whatever you want to buy" program, including soft drinks, said former agriculture secretary Ann Veneman on Monday, while advocating that benefits be limited to nutritious foods. "What some of us have argued (is) that this food stamp program ought to look a lot more like the WIC program and truly be a nutrition program."
Reducing the amount of meat served in school lunches and increasing servings of whole grains could help reduce the National School Lunch Program’s environmental impact while expanding the market for foods produced in more ecologically friendly ways, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Communications Earth and Environment.
President Biden selected two veterans of U.S. agriculture and nutrition policy for sub-cabinet positions at the Agriculture Department. Stacy Dean was nominated to serve as undersecretary for nutrition and Alexis Taylor to be undersecretary for trade, announced the White House. Dean has been the senior official overseeing USDA nutrition programs since Biden took office and Taylor has been Oregon's agriculture director since December 2016.
Addressing the interlinked crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and diet-related disease will require coordinated action, systems thinking, and much more public funding, a panel of scientists, farmers, and advocates told Congress on Wednesday.(No paywall)
Although many food banks discourage donations of junk food, they still don't get enough donations of healthy food and continue to receive unwanted items, said the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest on Monday.
Poor-quality diets are driving an expensive epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in America, a panel of physicians, researchers and policy experts told senators on Tuesday, calling for a national strategy to replace the mishmash of federal nutrition programs. "We are on a path to disaster," said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts School of Nutrition.
Lawmakers filed companion bills in the House and Senate on Wednesday to create a standard format for front-of-package nutrition labels so consumers will have a better idea of what's in their food.
The Biden administration will increase SNAP benefits by an average of 25 percent on Oct. 1 — the largest increase in the history of food stamps — based on a reassessment of the cost of a nutritious diet. Analysts and anti-hunger advocates said on Sunday that the increase would improve the diets of millions of poor Americans.(No paywall)