Wednesday, January 14, 2015
SHOULD THE US HAVE A NATIONAL FOOD POLICY?
Last month, a Washington Post op-ed piece argued that food production, distribution, and consumption represent the largest sector of the U.S. economy, yet come under no national plan or single official. “Government policy in these areas is made piecemeal,” the authors wrote. “Diet-related chronic disease, food safety, marketing to children, labor conditions, wages for farm and food-chain workers, immigration, water and air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and support for farmers: These issues are all connected to the food system. Yet they are overseen by eight federal agencies. Amid this incoherence, special interests thrive and the public good suffers.” The op-ed’s authors called on President Obama to state a national policy that balances public health values against agricultural interests—paying attention to food safety, price transparency, worker protections, children’s health, animal welfare and climate resiliency—and create a White House council to ensure federal agencies are not working at cross-purposes. Some, though, would argue that what’s needed isn’t just a national food policy to articulate change, but a national food agency to make it happen.
Source: National Geographic, 12/12/14, Food Policy