In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- An outbreak of listeriosis from contaminated cantaloupes sickened 84 people in 19 states, and 15 people have died. The cantaloupes have been traced back to Jensen Farms in Colorado. Jensen issued a voluntary recall of the fruit on September 14th, so the affected cantaloupes should be off store shelves. But it can take up to two months for symptoms of listeriosis to occur, and the CDC is predicting that more cases of the dangerous illness will be reported in the coming weeks.
- Denmark has introduced what some are calling the world's first "fat tax". The tax charges about $2.90 per kilogram of saturated fat in a food item. It will increase the price of a burger by about $0.15, and a small package of butter by about $0.40. Denmark has an obesity rate of under 10%, but researchers are still worried about the country's saturated fat consumption. They estimate that the consumption of saturated fat will drop by 10% as a result of the tax, and aim to extend life expectancy in the country by three years by 2021.
- A new farmer advocacy group called the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance launched this week. Its goal is to create a voice for agriculture that pushes back against the anti-industrial sentiment voiced by the progressive food movement. USFRA attempts to provide a face for industrial agriculture, and convince Americans that their food system is safe and trustworthy. USFRA's affiliates include national and regional associations of wheat, corn, soy, and beef, and its advisory board includes Monsanto, DuPont, and John Deere.
- This week's New York Times Magazine is the food and drink issue. Articles include everything from questions of restaurant etiquette to an illustrated guide to the myriad Pringles flavors. Policy coverage includes a piece by Paul Greenberg on fishery sustainability, an infographic demonstrating the cost effectiveness of food stamps in a dozen U.S. cities, and a reader Q&A with Michael Pollan.
- In a timely coincidence, The Nation magazine is also food-focused this week. The issue includes insightful articles by big names in international food policy, including Raj Patel, Vandana Shiva, and Frances Moore Lappe. The week's issue seeks to address questions of seed sovereignty, food security, and how to galvanize public support of agricultural sustainability in food communities world-wide. Some articles are subscriber-only.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.