Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Too Soon to Celebrate New SNAP Incentive Program in the Farm Bill

By Michele Simon and Daniel Bowman Simon

Some local food advocates are applauding the new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program in the finally-passed farm bill. The idea is to provide cash incentives to participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps) for healthy eating. But a closer look reveals the celebration may be premature at best.

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Is Outrage Over the Monsanto Protection Act a Turning Point for the Food Movement?

In March, when I first wrote about how the biotech rider—called the Monsanto Protection Act by its vocal opponents—undercut the constitutional concept of separation of powers, it seemed hardly anyone (other than the usual advocacy groups) was paying attention. But then a lot of people got mad, really mad.

Within a few short weeks the issue exploded in the mainstream media, with the surest sign the issue had hit the big time being (what else?) coverage by The Daily Show (hilariously entitled, “You Stuck What Where?”). Another indication was outrage even from a Tea Party blogger.

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Time to Stop Marketing Food to Kids

I recently gave several talks at the American Public Health Association conference, an annual gathering of some 12,000 enthusiastic public health professionals. In years past, not many presentations (other than my own) focused on the role of corporations to harm the public’s health. I am happy to report this is changing, as numerous panels struck such a theme. The following is a summary of my talk on the recent failed attempt by the federal government to rein in junk food marketing to children, and why it’s time to set a new and much bolder course to fix this problem.

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Infographic: Food Stamps, Follow the Money

On Tuesday, I published a report about how food companies and banks benefit from the $72 billion food stamp program. For those intimidated by 20 pages (it’s a good read), here is the visual short cut.

 

Take Action: Don’t let Big Food Market Junk Food to Kids

The following is from Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy with Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has been leading the fight for decades to stop junk food marketing to children. She writes in response to my previous post.

We need everyone’s help to make sure that the Administration does not use this as an excuse to abandon the guidelines. The industry lobbied hard and got the FTC stripped of its ability to regulate food marketing to kids in 1980. If it succeeds in keeping the government from issuing even voluntary recommendations, the government will never be able to go near food marketing to kids again. Let the Administration know you don’t want them to also cave to industry pressure. Take action here.

Congress to Kids: Drop Dead

Last month, when Congress declared pizza a vegetable, it was hard to believe things could get much worse. But never underestimate politicians’ ability to put corporate interests ahead of children’s health. In the massive budget bill just passed, Congress stuck in language to require the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a cost/benefit analysis before finalizing a report that would provide the food industry with science-based nutrition guidelines for marketing to children. Experts from four federal agencies put heads together, and for the past two years have tried to complete its charge (which ironically, came from Congress in the first place) amidst powerful industry push-back.

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Sorry Mrs. O, But Jumping Jacks Won’t Cut It

At a recent summit on childhood obesity, the first lady announced a shift in her well-known Let’s Move campaign — away from food reform and toward an increased focus on exercise. Instead of “forcing [children] to eat their vegetables,” she told her audience, “it’s getting them to go out there and have fun.” Yes, you heard that right. The first lady actually said that eating vegetables is a chore. And that playing is a preferable focus for her campaign because it’s easier. Read rest at Grist…

School food politics: What’s missing from the pizza-as-vegetable reporting

Over the last couple of days, news outlets have been having a field day with a proposal from Congress that pizza sauce be considered a vegetable to qualify for the National School Lunch program. Headlines like this one were typical: “Is Pizza Sauce a Vegetable? Congress says Yes.” (The blogs were a tad more childish; for example LA Weekly: Congress to USDA: Pizza is So a Vegetable, Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah.)

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