In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- An article on GOOD looks at how companies are trying to eliminate BPA in the lining of canned products. Campbell's Soup Company announced it is going to start phasing out the chemical, which studies have linked to certain types of cancers and reproductive problems. However, alternative can liners are still specialty products, which raises the cost of production for BPA-free companies. BPA-free canned goods include Eden Mills products and Muir Glen tomatoes.
- Since the USDA's Food Desert Locator map came out last year, there has been much discussion among policy makers about how to ease the food concerns of those in low-access communities. Often, the solution is to build a large supermarket in food deserts, but a piece in Grist questions this response. New studies have shown little correlation between the presence of supermarkets and increased health conditions of local residents. Researchers speculate that perhaps the low quality of some cheap supermarkets dissuades residents from purchasing suspicious-looking "fresh: produce. It seems the question of food access may have a more complicated solution.
- The New York City Council held a hearing last week to address restauranteurs' concerns over the city's food safety grading system that was implemented nearly two years ago. The system gives restaurants an A, B, or C grade depending on their performance in health inspections. Many restaurant owners claim that inspectors dock points unnecessarily, and generally don't prioritize the needs of the restaurant community. They say that the aim of the grading system should be food safety and improved customer experience, not punishing restaurant operators or employees. Council Speaker Christine Quinn moderated the gathering, which drew over 300 attendees.
- The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition think-tank, is calling for the FDA to revoke its authorization of a caramel coloring called 4-MI, which is the main coloring agent for Coca-Cola and Pepsi products. The coloring is a known carcinogen, and is present in relatively large amounts in sodas. Coke and Pepsi have stated they are seeking a coloring with less 4-MI, but that they will not change their soda formulas.
- Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? To bring greater attention to health and nutrition, the Obama Administration declared March 8th "What's on My Plate?" Day. The MyPlate icon replaced the food pyramid last year as a visual representation of a healthy daily diet. It encourages us to reserve half of our theoretical "plate" for fruits and veggies. What's on My Plate? Day was publicized by thousands of USDA affiliates, and Americans were asked to tweet pictures of their healthy plates to celebrate a balanced diet.
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.