How Will Tuesday's Election Affect Food Policy?

In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites

A roundup of news clippings we're reading that affect the way we eat.


  • In her monthly column for the San Francisco Chronicle, Marion Nestle discusses the impact that tomorrow's election will have on food policy. Generally speaking, the Republican platform emphasizes individual responsibility for health and consumption habits, whereas the Democratic platform emphasizes policy responses to obesity and other public health issues. These positions also apply to industry regulation, which is more heavily supported by the Obama administration. It's likely that Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign will also be affected by the election.

More food policy news:

  • Fish expert Paul Greenberg wrote an op-ed for the New York Times discussing the importance of oysters in maintaining shorelines and reducing the impact of large storms such as Hurricane Sandy. If large colonies of oysters had taken root in the shallow waters of the harbor, their shells could break up waves and reduce shoreline impact.
  • In other hurricane news, nearly 30% of Cuba's coffee harvest was decimated during last week's storm. Reuters estimates that the harvest will come in at about 4,000 tonnes, the lowest amount in over a hundred years. The storm took down trees and damaged processing centers in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, where 92% of the country's coffee crop is grown. The government has invested millions of dollars in building up the coffee industry in Cuba.
  • This lengthy investigative piece on the sugar industry in Mother Jones discusses how the sugar industry and food corporations have promoted sugar through clever marketing over the years while concealing the negative health effects. The authors reveal secret industry memos that indicate back-room dealings that have misled the public on sugar-related research for decades. There is a definite anti-sugar bias in this piece, but it's hard to dispute the author's argument that the amount of sugar Americans consume is excessive.
  • Recent reports implicate that Monster Energy drinks have contributed to five deaths since 2009. The FDA is investigating these deaths and other injury reports related to the energy drink. This issue brings up the question of how closely the FDA should be expected to regulate supplements, and what action (if any) should be taken against Monster.

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.