A Hamburger Today
In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
The USDA recently reduced its estimate of American's average sugar consumption. Until two months ago, the commonly accepted figure for per capita sugar consumption was 95 to 100 pounds a year. The new estimate is around 76 pounds per capita. Health advocacy groups are heralding this decrease as a result of awareness around sugar's possible detrimental health impacts. However, per capita consumption is notoriously difficult to measure. The number is a rough estimate determined by sales of sweetened foods minus the amount of food thrown out by consumers.
Whole Foods has implemented a color-coding labeling system to alert consumers to the healthfulness of the foods they are buying. Foods are given a green, yellow, or orange label depending on their nutritional content. Foods will be assessed depending on sodium and sugar content, amount of whole grains, calorie density, and calories from saturated fats. If the labeling measure is rolled out nation-wide, Whole Foods will share their criteria for labeling with consumers.
On Election Day, November 6th, Californians will vote on controversial Proposition 37. This measure would require labeling of genetically-modified ingredients in some packaged foods. The measure has been a source of much anger and debate among scientists, corporations, and consumers. Most recently, the American Association for the Advancement of Science released a statement opposing Prop 37. The AAAS fears that labeling GM ingredients would alarm consumers. They argue that there is a lack of compelling scientific evidence that GM foods are harmful to humans' health.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York held a summit last week to celebrate New York-based alcohol producers. For a long time, alcohol was not taken seriously as a source of economic growth in the New York economy - but now that the number of microbreweries has increased by 74% and the number of farm distilleries is up by 211% in the past two years, policy-makers are paying attention. Cuomo announced that the state will make it easier to get licenses for alcohol production and sale, and that the state will allocation $3 million to the advertising and promotion of New York wine, beer, and spirits.
- Conspiracy, fraud, and multi-million dollar paychecks - these are the details of a large-scale investigation into Dean Foods, the country's largest milk bottler. Gregg Engles was once heralded as a great mind of the milk industry, CEO of a company whose brands included Land O' Lakes, Garelick Farms, and Horizon Organic. But recent lawsuits have revealed that Engles engaged in shady deals that minimized competition in certain areas of the country and insured his huge paychecks at the end of the year. The nation's largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, was allegedly implicit in some of Engles' dealings.
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.