Recent Articles About Food Policy

If you’ve ever argued with your significant other about whether to eat something that has been in your cupboard for a while, you’re not alone.

“One of the most common arguments people seem to have at home is about whether or not food should be thrown out just because the date on the label has passed. It’s time to settle that argument, end the confusion, and stop throwing away perfectly good food,” Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) announced in a statement she released yesterday in conjunction with a federal bill called Food Date Labeling Act.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) proposed an identical bill in the Senate, and the two lawmakers hope to do more than reduce domestic disputes. They’re also planning to help consumers waste less food. Read more

Dennis Lane has owned a 7-Eleven franchise in Quincy, Massachusetts for 42 years. He says many of his customers use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) benefits to buy staple foods.

“I sell 150 gallons of milk a day in my neighborhood,” he said. “A lot of those folks use SNAP.”

Soon, Lane’s store’s SNAP eligibility could be in question due to a recently proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would require retailers to stock an expanded list of foods to remain eligible for participation in the food assistance program. The rule would also eliminate from the SNAP program retailers with 15 percent or more of their store sales from hot, prepared food. Read more

What do grizzly bears, gray wolves, California condors, and coho salmon have in common? All are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and all are likely to be harmed by three commonly used pesticides, according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, these three pesticides—chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion—are likely to harm 97 percent of the plants and animals listed under the ESA.  Read more

Beekeepers in Maryland have had a devastating few years. Last year, they lost nearly 61 percent of their bees; the year before it was nearly 50 percent.

Pointing to a growing consensus in the scientific community about pesticides’ impacts on honey bees and other pollinators, beekeepers in the state have worked with environmental groups to effect local policy. Last week, the Maryland state legislature passed the Pollinator Protection Act, which would ban consumers from buying pesticides that contain “neonics” beginning in 2018. Read more

Jonathan Gold has long been known in culinary circles as the only food writer to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Now, the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic is the focus of a new documentary, City of Gold.

Filmmaker Laura Gabbert spent nearly five years accompanying Gold on his pickup truck ramblings throughout Los Angeles, visiting dozens of small, family-owned restaurants serving the panoply of world cuisines that Gold is famous for highlighting. The film is a beautiful meditation on Los Angeles, the role of the critic, and the importance of a vibrant food scene in a vast, diverse city. Read more

Patrick Holden has been talking about the “true cost” of food for years. And while he has engaged activists, scientists, and academics from all over the world in his role as director of the UK-based Sustainable Food Trust (SFT), it is by no means a theoretical discussion for him.

Holden has also been a farmer since 1973, and his family raises dairy cows as part of a small and diverse organic farm in Wales. But, like many dairy farmers around the world, he can’t afford to sell his cows’ milk. Read more

All eyes have been on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but it is by no means the only city where the poorest residents face environmental damage and lax government oversight.

Further to the South, in rural North Carolina, another, less-known battle is taking shape. This crisis involves the lasting impact of pollution from large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) housing pigs. Now a group of citizens is claiming that the state’s $3 billion pork industry is disposing of its waste in a manner that disproportionately and negatively affects residents of color, and that the negotiating efforts are being stalled by the pork industry. Read more

It can seem like no one cooks anymore. Most grocery stores (and even some gas stations) have a wealth of pick-up options for hungry people at the end of a long day of work. Processed meals have made it into the organic aisle with brands like Amy’s and Annie’s. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that since 1970, the number of meals eaten away from home has risen from 25 to 43 percent of total food spending per household.

And if Michael Pollan’s new documentary series, Cooked, which begins streaming on Netflix today, is any further evidence, the spread of processed foods and Western diets is taking out cooking, one family at a time. Read more