In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- Congress failed to pass a new Farm Bill, which was due at the end of September, largely because of inter-party fighting and poor communication. The expiration of the last Farm Bill will result in limited resources for farmers until a new bill is passed. Many farmers who are at all dependent on government funds for maintaining operations or for growing their businesses will be at risk. Harvest Public Media reports that farmers from across the political and agricultural spectrum are coming together to urge Congress to pass a new bill, even if both sides need to compromise.
- Starting this fall, healthier school lunch menus are being phased in across the country. The Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was passed in January, will impose certain regulations limiting calorie, fat, and sugar content of school lunches. While this news is exciting for some, parents and kids alike wonder if children will really take so well to the new menus. The Salt explores how parents and teachers are helping students through the transition.
- PureCycle, the company that manufactures the sweetener Stevia, has signed a deal for research and development with Coca-Cola. Coke already uses Stevia to sweeten some of its diet beverages overseas. The deal allows that Stevia will provide Coke with product for development over a 5-year period. While Stevia's immediate sales have slowed recently, the company is certain that usage of the sweetener will pick up in the coming years due to such corporate agreements.
- A 1996 regulation that sets a minimum price for imported Mexican tomatoes might be up for debate in the coming weeks. Faced with complaints from Florida farmers that Mexican tomatoes are outselling them, the Department of Commerce is considering recalling this agreement. The agreement has kept prices of Mexican tomatoes low, which Florida farmers claim is driving them out of the market. Experts and industry representatives wonder if this battle might cause further tensions between the two countries in other spheres.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) changed the make-up of its food packages for new mothers. The program now offers three types of packages - a full breastfeeding package with no formula and more supplemental food for the mother; a partial breastfeeding package with both formula and supplemental food; and a full formula option with less supplemental food. The policy change was meant to encourage more breastfeeding among the WIC population, but researchers found that there were mixed results. Women generally decided during pregnancy whether or not to breastfeed, so the contents of their WIC basket were less impactful than policymakers had hoped.
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.