Our founding fathers, white-maleness aside, did get a few things right. One of them was the concept of “separation of powers,” to ensure a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. But a dangerous provision snuck into the budget bill passed last week in Congress upends that system. Continue reading →
Posts Tagged ‘Obama’
As I explained yesterday, I am writing one post per day this week to being attention to the new book by food labor rights advocate Saru Jayaraman, Behind the Kitchen Door. The book brings much-needed attention to the 10 million restaurant workers who toil everyday over our meals, often for slave wages. The National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) is largely responsible for lobbying to keep the federal tipped minimum wage at a paltry $2.13 an hour. Unfortunately, the topic of worker rights never came up in the speech the first lady gave to the NRA in September of 2010.
Produce Industry Funders of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools are Putting Children at Risk: A Plea to Michelle Obama
The United Fresh Produce Association Foundation says it’s “proud to be a Founding Partner of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Initiative.” I thought the First Lady should know this trade group is responsible for killing a vital produce testing program that helps keep kids safe from infection.
Dear Mrs. Obama,
I am writing out of deep concern over Let’s Move’s partnerships with the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association. These two groups have lobbied to kill a vital pathogen testing program. While the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program is to be applauded, its association with these trade groups is not.
You’ve probably never heard of the Microbiological Data Program (MDP) but if you eat fresh produce, you should, because it’s currently on President Obama’s budgetary chopping block. The MDP is a small ($5 million annually) pathogen monitoring program tucked away in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It tests fruits and vegetables for deadly bugs like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria.
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.
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.
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…
Marion Nestle, the author of Food Politics, recently got a reminder that food is indeed political, right up to the nation’s highest office. On November 30, the first lady made a speech in which she announced that her Let’s Move campaign (on childhood obesity) would have a renewed focus on physical fitness, to combat “the crisis of inactivity that we see among our kids.”
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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