In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a plan to ban the sale of sugary beverages over 16 ounces in all food-service establishments across the city. The ban would apply to all sugar-sweetened beverages, but not to diet sodas, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, and dairy-based beverages. There has been much backlash to this proposal from the soda and from various media outlets, who claim that the mayor is attempting to restrict personal liberties by reducing food choices.
- Sales of antibiotic-free meat have increased rapidly in the past five years, as consumers become more aware of the dangers of feeding animals large doses of antibiotics. Large chains such as Chipotle, and other companies like Hyatt Hotels and Bon Appetit Management Co., have begun purchasing large quantities of antibiotic-free meat. Despite the slight increase in price that comes with the higher-quality product, demand continues to grow.
- The Food and Drug Administration announced increased testing for strains of the E. Coli virus in raw beef trimmings beginning this week. Officials will now test for an additional six strains of the potentially deadly virus, along with the most commonly known strain, E. Coli O157:H7. This expansion of testing comes after reports showed that these six strains have resulted in more illnesses than O157:H7 in the past year.
- The FDA also rejected a petition from the Corn Refiners Association to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup to "corn sugar". The name change was an attempt to balance the bad publicity that HFCS has received in the last few years. The FDA's central justifications were that a "sugar" is a crystalized substance, and as HFCS is a syrup, it cannot be classified as a sugar; and that "corn sugar" already has a technical definition. Marion Nestle provide a further argument that since the name change was primarily a PR move, it should not be within the jurisdiction of the FDA.
- Last weekend's G8 summit saw a complicated discussion of international food security. President Obama announced a new public-private partnership that will provide about $3 billion to fight the global hunger crisis. Included in the partnership are various agribusiness leaders such as DuPont, Monsanto, and Cargill. The goal of this partnership is to empower small farmers, especially women, who struggle to feed their families despite a lifetime dedicated to agricultural production.
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.