nutrition

FDA updates criteria for when ‘healthy’ can appear on a food label

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.

To end hunger, White House backs more free school meals and healthier food choices

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.

USDA approves genetically engineered purple tomato

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.

Pandemic amplified global rise in food insecurity

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."

SNAP should look like WIC, says former agriculture secretary

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."

Study: Cut beef, boost whole grains to make school lunches more sustainable

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.

Biden nominates two for USDA undersecretary posts

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.

Experts: Congress must treat poor nutrition, climate change, and biodiversity loss as interconnected

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)

Improve nutrition standards for donated foods — report

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.

‘Overfed but undernourished’ — Congress is told U.S. in health crisis

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.

Bills call for uniformity in front-of-package nutrition labels

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.

Biden administration announces largest increase ever in SNAP benefits

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)

For rural grocery stores, the pandemic is personal

Grocery delivery is nothing new, and it certainly has become much more common since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But for stores like Michigan Hometown Foods, which is  the lone grocery in a town of 275 people, the process looks a lot different than it does in a larger city, as Stephanie Parker reports in FERN latest story.(No paywall)

Despite threat of fines, jail time, price gouging still rampant in California farmworker communities

People in some of California’s poorest towns still face exorbitant prices on staple foods more than a month after the governor declared a state of emergency that made price gouging illegal. The practice has been particularly insidious in farmworker towns like El Centro, in the Imperial Valley, and Delano, in the San Joaquin Valley. In both towns, like so many of the state’s farmworker communities, more than a quarter of residents live in poverty and most are Latino.(No paywall)

Covid-19 relief bill suspends SNAP work and training requirements

The Senate is expected to vote this week on the House-passed Covid-19 relief bill that suspends work and job-training requirement for SNAP recipients, a step that could preserve benefits for hundreds of thousands of people. "I believe the vast majority of Senators in both parties will agree we should act swiftly to secure relief for American workers, families, and small businesses," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the weekend.(No paywall)

Biggest rise in restaurant and takeaway food prices in a decade

Although U.S. food prices generally show small increases from year to year, the USDA says prices for "food away from home," a category that includes restaurants, carry-out food and institutional meals, rose 3.1 percent in 2019. That's the largest increase since 3.5 percent in 2009 and is part of a pattern in which the price of food away from home rises more rapidly than retail prices for groceries.

Trumps selects Lipps for long-vacant USDA nutrition post

After nearly three years in office, President Trump has a nominee for agriculture undersecretary for nutrition, Brandon Lipps, who has been running USDA’s public nutrition programs since July 2017. As a House staff worker, Lipps helped engineer $8.6 billion in food stamp cuts in the 2014 farm …

Colleges resort to ‘food scholarships,’ pantries to help hungry, homeless students

With Congress mired in partisan gridlock and the White House showing little interest, the nation's colleges and universities are scrambling to address the growing crisis of hungry, homeless students, as Bridget Huber reports in FERN's latest story.(No paywall)

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