In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
Each week we'll round up the latest in food policy news clippings.
- Last month, the USDA went head-to-head with potato producers by calling for fewer white potatoes in federally-funded school lunches. Their nutritional concerns were chided by industry advocates, but a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine on weight gain implicates potatoes as a major source of waistline inflation. It seems further discussion may be on the way to protect the reputation of the humble spud.
- At the G20 summit last week, agriculture leaders from the world's 20 leading economies met to address issues of food security. In their 24-page action plan, these authorities called for higher productivity and more transparency in commodity markets. The reforms in the plan are meant to stabilize fluctuating food prices. This summit marked the first-ever occasion that these 20 agricultural leaders have met together.
- The European Union introduced new regulations that would require all food products to contain nutrition labeling within five years. The labels would list the food's energy, fat, salt, sugar, protein, carbohydrate, and saturated fat content. Labeling would also have to include country of origin information for all meats. The regulations are meant to further inform consumers and help them make healthier choices.
- Want more information on where your favorite restaurant sources its food? Real Time Farms is a growing database of farms, restaurants, and food artisans, and info on how they're all connected. Click on a restaurant to see where menu ingredients come from, or click on farms to get to know your local farmer. Currently located in just a few cities, RTF is hoping to expand nationwide in the coming months.
- Last week we highlighted a Senate vote that sought to eliminate the ethanol subsidy, much to the excitement of anti-biofuel parties. But it may be that this subsidy, which incentivizes oil companies to buy ethanol and blend it with gasoline, is not necessarily crucial to keeping the ethanol industry afloat. The product is in such demand that even without subsidies, sales may continue at normal rates and agricultural land will still be dedicated to growing crops for biofuel. While this would be good news for corn farmers, those seeking more sustainable renewable fuel possibilities might want to hold off on celebration.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work is also featured in Rhode Island Monthly magazine.