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What Does Barack Obama's First 100 Days Mean for Serious Eaters?

20090428-obama100days.jpgSerious eaters will be hearing a lot in the next few days about President Obama's first 100 days in office, and most of the chatter will rightfully revolve around national security and the economy—and his achievements or lack thereof in those vitally important areas.

But, hey, we're Serious Eats, so I thought it would be useful to look at both the accomplishments of the Obama administration in terms of food-related issues and the signals they have sent concerning future food policy.

I asked Marion Nestle, one of the nation's leading authorities on food politics and a newly minted first-rate food-politics blogger, to assess the president's first 100 days from a food-policy perspective. Nestle is hopeful but anxious:

I wish I had a clear view of what the first 100 days mean for agriculture, food, nutrition, and health, but I think it’s way too early to tell. The most hopeful signs are strictly symbolic: the organic gardens at the White House and USDA. Obama has appointed some people interested in sustainable agriculture and in nutrition for the poor to high positions at USDA, and the nomination of Margaret Hamburg to be FDA commissioner is an excellent choice. I’m hoping she gets confirmed soon. What totally remains to be seen is what these people can actually do. I’m reserving judgment but keeping fingers crossed.

Nestle's anxiety is probably well-founded. We can't really grade the Obama administration for its food policy until we see what it can actually accomplish in the area of food policy. Nonetheless, there are encouraging signs.

I think serious eaters can feel good knowing that the Obamas care about good food eaten for pleasure and for our health. So let's raise a glass to his first 100 days. May his administration continue to fight the good fight for serious eaters everywhere.

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