Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

School Food Lobby Flip-flops on Healthy School Lunches

School Nutrition Association includes such Big Food sponsors as PepsiCo, Domino’s and Muffin Town.

Perhaps the most visible advocate for improving school food, Michelle Obama is now defending what shouldn’t be such a controversial idea: adding fruits and vegetables to public school lunches. Ask any nutrition expert what foods Americans — especially kids — need more of in their diet, and the answer would be the same: fresh produce. But some Republicans, such as Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama, never seem to miss an opportunity to turn a no-brainer into a political battle, particularly when it comes to school food. (Who can forget the pizza as a vegetable debacle?) And just in time to give them the necessary cover, they got a gift from an unlikely source. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has asked Congress to approve waiver requests for schools that are struggling to comply with federal nutrition regulations aimed at improving children’s health.

Read rest at Al Jazeera America …

The Fallacy of Marketing “Healthy Food” to Children

By focusing on marketing, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign won’t save our children’s health

Michelle Obama is probably the most popular first lady in recent memory, with approval ratings embarrassingly higher than her husband’s, at least in 2012. She is the picture of health, speaks openly about the challenges of raising two daughters and feeding them right and uses her platform to call attention to the country’s childhood obesity crisis through her Let’s Move program. And yet, with all this going for her, even she cannot make a serious dent in the problem of how food and media corporations are targeting children with junk-food advertising. Read rest at Al Jazeera America ….

Behind Closed Doors: Who’s Taking Meetings with FDA on Food Safety

FDA logo

When President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law in January 2011, it was considered a long-fought, but significant and bipartisan victory to update the Food and Drug Administration’s authority and oversight of the food supply. While much of the wrangling over the language of the law was made public, through media coverage of Congressional hearings for example, the ensuing industry influence over implementation of the law has been subject to far less public scrutiny (with the exception of FDA’s unlawful delay of FSMA’s critical implementing regulations, which Center for Food Safety has successfully sued over.

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The Wrong Obama Gives Tough Talk on Junk Food Marketing to Kids

Last week Michelle Obama gathered 100 food industry representatives, academic experts and public health advocates for a “summit” at the White House to discuss junk food marketing to children. The event included public remarks by the first lady followed by a closed-door discussion among attendees, ostensibly to come up with some solutions. The first lady’s speech was better than I had anticipated. As someone who was skeptical about Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move program from the beginning, with good reason as it turned out, I am happy to report she didn’t pull any punches.

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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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Monsanto Teams up with Congress to Shred the Constitution

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 →

Why the Other NRA Loves the First Lady

Michelle Obama speaking to the National Restaurant Association in September 2010

 

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.

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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.

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A Budget Cut Only the Produce Industry Could Love

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.

Read rest at Center for Food Safety…

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.

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