Category: Food Prices

Earth Day in Food Policy

Prominent voices have been talking about the sustainability of agricultural practices in recent weeks. Earth Day brought with it new sets of commitments from major companies and organizations and a new report suggested a decrease in meat consumption. Read about these moves and more in this edition of Influence Feed.

Trade, Trans Fats and a Papal Treatise

In a move that streamlined trade negotiations, Congress granted the White House fast-track authority on making trade deals, sparking strong commentaries on all sides of the issue. Beyond trade, trans fats took a blow and the pope offered a tempered view of modern agriculture practices. See how influencers reacted to these developments in this installment of Influence Feed.

Attention on Antibiotics, Clashes over COOL

Recent action by the White House, congress and government regulators on agriculture-related issues brought an interesting array of responses from influencers. Among the most hotly discussed issues recently: a multi-faceted approach to antibiotic use policy; the swift action by Congress to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements; a new strategy to support the nation’s bee population; and a revised ruling on which of the nation’s water sources fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. In this installment of Influence Feed, see which decisions drew the most support and which faced the most criticism.

Serving Up Discussion

Thanksgiving marked a celebration of views for influencers, who used the holiday to examine hot-button issues in food production. In addition to the turkey talk, there was plenty of buzz about new rules requiring calorie-count information from chain restaurants, movie theaters, and grocery and convenience stores that sell prepared foods for takeout. You’ll also want to see the food industry reaction to President Obama’s executive order to protect undocumented workers from deportation. Find these issues and more in this edition of Influence Feed.

Under Pressure

Protests, research and well-placed journalism have proved effective for those applying pressure to opponents in the food sector. Advocates for specific nutrition standards for children criticized a House Committee on Appropriations bill that would offer flexibility to school lunch programs. Meanwhile, activists gained notice for urging McDonald’s Corp. to stop advertising to children. Protesters drew attention at McDonald’s headquarters as they sought higher worker wages, while other protests outside Monsanto locations put a spotlight on GMOs. Voters in two rural counties in Oregon outlawed GMOs, while many eyes were on an Oxfam International report singling out 10 major food brands as largely responsible for climate change.

More than two years after the vilification of lean, finely-textured beef, Beef Products Inc. is suing ABC News for its role in propagating the term “pink slime.” In addition, Yelp has found some unintended utility in helping to spot foodborne illness. Worries about an egg white shortage also ricocheted around the news. Read about these and more in this edition of Influence Feed.

Real Voices

Two highly respected individuals bookend this edition of Influence Feed. On National Agriculture Day, the U.S. commemorated the 100th birthday of Dr. Norman Borlaug, the deeply influential “father of the green revolution,” with a life-size statue in Washington, D.C. Secondly, food and agriculture lost an outspoken advocate for animal health and food safety in Dr. Scott Hurd. These two had tremendous influence on improving the quality of our food supply.

Several hotly-debated topics are covered in this edition. The FDA published a progress update on Guidance 213, and we provide some key feedback from different perspectives. Reporter Lynn Terry’s piece on Salmonella prevention in Denmark received major attention after Food Safety News’ Bill Marler shared it. Additionally, we saw how a labeling mistake at Whole Foods served as an opportunity for New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom to bring plant-based protein into the spotlight. Read about these and more.

Speaking Up

The past two weeks saw a relative absence of pivotal new issues in food and agriculture, but several topics maintained high-level dialogues among influencers. The discussion regarding the definition of wholesomeness and healthfulness continued on several fronts, while food manufacturers felt pressure in the form of identifying and limiting added sugars. Traditional grocery and quick-service chains continue to capitalize on “free-from” labeling to compete with growing competition from “supernatural” outlets. In addition, skeptics of the current school lunch program became increasingly vocal, requiring its defenders to underscore its benefits and successes.

Critics specifically challenged poultry production during this period, demanding—and receiving—responses from industry leadership. The Meat Racket continued to make waves in major media outlets. Meanwhile, the Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule met heavy criticism in Congress.