If you had any lingering doubt about who controls the food supply, the answer was made painfully clear yesterday when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its “Decision to Fully Deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa.” For years, a fight has been waging over Monsanto’s desire to plant genetically-engineered alfalfa seeds. (Most alfalfa is fed to cattle, which is why it’s so lucrative.) The court battle even found its way to the US Supreme Court, that’s how much is at stake. Thanks to organic food advocates fighting however they could, Monsanto has thus far been stymied.
Archive for January, 2011
When it comes to food, everybody’s got an opinion. Same goes for parenting. Mix the two together and you’ve got the makings of a culture war. Witness the recent scuffle between Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama over the White House’s rather tame Let’s Move campaign aimed at ending childhood obesity.
So last month, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest announced it was filing a class action lawsuit to stop McDonald’s from using Happy Meal toys to market to children, the fierce and ugly backlash against the mother of two who was brave enough to attach her name to the case was predictable.
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When Michelle Obama first announced her Let’s Move program to end childhood obesity “within a generation” last year, I tried to remain open-minded. Like many others, I was happy to have the First Lady bring attention to this important problem. And there’s no doubt that her leadership has helped, for example, to get Congress to make improvements to school meals. But I remained concerned that the White House was reluctant to take on the food industry in any meaningful way. It seems that things are worse than I thought.
This time of year, it’s customary to look back and capture the most important historical moments. And all things considered, 2010 was a pretty good year. So in that spirit, here are my top 5 gains in food policy. (They are in no particular order.)