Category: Sustainability

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.

GMO Labeling Showdown

Influencers issued hundreds of comments on GMO labeling as legislators rushed to establish national standards and preempt a Vermont labeling law that goes into effect July 1. These events follow an unsuccessful effort by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to resolve the issue in talks with stakeholders. We outline the bills proposed to the Senate as well as influencer reactions to GMOs and more in this edition of Influence Feed.

Food Safety in the Spotlight

Food safety concerns drove influence discussions in recent weeks: USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released new standards for pathogens in poultry products, and Chipotle Mexican Grill’s food safety saga continued. Additionally, concerns about technology in food production drew attention to GMO labeling, food dyes and pesticide residue. Read about these topics and more in this edition of Influence Feed.

Chipotle, TPP and ‘Natural’ Food

Food safety and labeling drove recent influencer conversations, especially when news broke of an outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) at northwestern Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., restaurants. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) request for comments on the term “natural” and the carcinogenicity of meats and pesticides, too, stirred discussion. Read about these and more in this edition of Influence Feed.

Limits of Legislation

Regulatory overseers are pushing back on rule-making bodies they say have gone too far. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans will not include sustainability, as the topic is beyond the purview of the Advisory Committee’s expertise. Additionally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has deemed the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule of the Clean Water Act an overreach by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These stories dominated conversations in a period that also saw the passage of a California law regarding antibiotics usage in livestock, settlement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and more.

The Beef Over Ground Beef

The latest flurry of reports regarding what we eat includes an investigation by Consumer Reports regarding production standards for ground beef. In other food debates, you can read about reaction to a government warning for labeling claims made by the makers of Just Mayo. And see comments by McDonald’s Corporation and Mercy For Animals regarding the practices of a Tennessee poultry supplier accused of animal mistreatment.


This edition of Influence Feed ranks the most highly discussed topics from the past six months as well as recent insight from our influencers. Commitments from large food companies and analysis from various nongovernmental organizations drove influencer conversations of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides. Regulatory action enflamed debates about agricultural policies and practices. Meanwhile, drought in California served as a consistent backdrop for commentary on agriculture in the United States.

In recent events, influencers have turned to Washington to address concerns about the health of humans and of poultry: Poultry farmers aired grievances regarding the handling of the avian flu epidemic; a nutrition study called for a reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages; and the prepared food industry applauded a relaxed deadline on menu labeling.

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.

Reshaping Food Labels

Companies are putting their reputations on the line by changing food production policies, but not all of their decisions are equal in the eyes of influencers. That was illustrated clearly by Chipotle Mexican Grill’s choice to eliminate genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients from its menu and by Tyson Foods’ resolve to no longer treat its chickens with antibiotics that are medically important for humans. See why Chipotle’s announcement brought a large serving of criticism and Tyson’s decision was seen as a bigger game-changer. You’ll find the details on these issues and more in the latest edition of Influence Feed.

Strengthening Standards

The new year is bringing new issues and fresh debates to the food industry. Chicken producers are operating under new food safety standards. Chipotle is drawing attention to its own supplier guidelines, which are affecting its menu. And the Food Tank Summit stimulated plenty of opinions on the most pressing needs for the food system.

See reactions to these issues and more in this installment of Influence Feed.