U.S. Legislation

Opinion: As Congress refuses to fix immigration and states run amok on enforcement, we need sensible policy that aids 11 million undocumented already here and working

The editors

The New York Times 2011-10-27

Oregon congressman urges revamp of farm bill, moving billions away from agribusiness and new focus on aid to family farmers, new farmers and production of healthy, local food

By Pete Kasperowicz

The Hill 2011-10-26

Opinion: House, Senate Ag panel leaders try to write new farm bill in private, with plans to take it to deficit committee to be enacted whole, without votes; farm bill sets food policy for 5 years

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-10-26

Opinion: Children's needs ignored as Senate protects potato farmers who complained over proposed anti-obesity rules limiting high-carb foods for school meals

By Valerie Strauss

The Washington Post 2011-10-20

Opinion: As Occupy Wall Street draws attention to corporate control of democracy, government, we note lobbyists' role in shaping food/ag issues, even writing legislation

By Ben Lilliston

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy 2011-09-30

Scrutiny of sugar tariffs, corn subsidies shows reason for ubiquity of high-fructose corn syrup in diet and is example of corruption in Congress, says Lawrence Lessig, in "Republic, Lost"

By Julian Brookes

Rolling Stone 2011-10-05

Though health concerns from pollution near fracking are longstanding, neither states nor feds have systematically tracked reports or comprehensively probed effects

by Abrahm Lustgarten and Nicholas Kusnetz

ProPublica 2011-09-16

Opinion: Agricultural policies still dominated by farm-state legislators openly hostile to reform; until big-state and urban legislators decide to serve on panels, little change likely

By Michael Pollan

The Nation 2011-09-14

NJ, RI senators want list of risky health, environment chemicals from EPA; it includes BPA, phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers

By Cheryl Hogue

Chemical & Engineering News 2011-09-12

Opinion: In D.C., fewer dinners means polite conversation that may lead to beginnings of camaraderie is lost, and with it mutual trust essential to governance by two parties

By Lea Berman

The Washington Post 2011-08-05

Opinion: Rather than subsidizing unhealthful foods with tax dollars, we should tax them, then use income to make good food affordable, ubiquitous

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-07-24

Opinion: Cutting harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants requires technology, ambition, but industry unlikely to invest unless Congress provides strong incentive

The editors

The New York Times 2011-07-20

At moment when both parties seem to agree that spending is out of control, free peanut storage, little-used airports illustrate political chore of cutting even smallest projects

By Ron Nixon

The New York Times 2011-07-15

Opinion: GOP-led House group seems bent on destroying laws protecting water, soil, air, but Obama, Senate must stand firm against states' likely race to bottom to lure business

The editors

The New York Times 2011-07-15

Citing harm to business, House Republicans push ahead on plans to hamstring air, water, soil protections

By Tennille Tracy

Dow Jones Newswires 2011-07-13

Senator Ben Cardin aims for clean water accord, balancing Americans' biggest environmental concern against agriculture, homebuilding, mining industries

By Paul Quinlan

Greenwire; The New York Times 2011-07-01

House moves to kill only national program that routinely screens our fruits, vegetables for deadly e. coli, but tracking pathogens in meat, dairy has $9 million budget

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-07-04

As EPA tightens on emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, coal-heavy utility lobbies Congress on clean water, clean air rules

The Associated Press; Bloomberg Businessweek 2011-06-27

Pesticide spraying near streams to expand under Congressional bill that sidesteps Clean Water Act permitting

By Ashlie Rodriguez

Los Angeles Times 2011-06-21

Despite tough times, government urged to consider potential public health impacts of legislation, regulations such as agriculture subsidies, zoning decisions, education policy

By Julian Pecquet

The Hill 2011-06-21

Ethanol industry likely would continue using one-third of U.S. corn crop (keeping prices high for livestock producers) and would be fine without $5 billion-a-year federal subsidy

By David Mercer

The Associated Press; San Francisco Chronicle 2011-06-21

Opinion: In "The Big Thirst," author's purpose is to create understanding of humanity's relationship to water in hopes of diverting impending water crisis that need not be

By Kathleen Parker

The Washington Post 2011-05-27

Opinion: Mostly preventable chronic diseases is largest driver of health care costs, accounting for 75 cents of every $1 spent; we spend less than 5 cents on prevention

By Kenneth Thorpe and Jonathan Lever

Kaiser Health News 2011-05-01

Opinion: For 2012 Farm Bill, eliminate corn subsidies and redirect $4 billion annually in federal funds to SNAP and other nutrition programs that target most vulnerable population

By Andrew Schiff Youli Lee

The Providence Journal 2011-03-28

Opinion: Budget is a moral document: We can cut military spending, eliminate corporate subsidies and tax loopholes for the rich, or we can starve the poor. Which side are you on?

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-03-29

Opinion: Pew poll shows majority in favor of federal role in fighting obesity, but group includes only 41 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of those who agree with tea partiers

By Charles M. Blow

The New York Times 2011-03-11

Children of migrant farmworkers struggle to keep up in school as parents follow the lettuce and produce season from Salinas Valley to Yuma, AZ, November to April

By Patricia Leigh Brown

The New York Times 2011-03-12

Opinion: We are for savings, but GOP's proposed losses of $11 billion in meat and poultry production over next seven months through furloughs of meat inspectors makes no sense

The editors

The New York Times 2011-03-06

Opinion: Reform subsidies so they encourage small- and medium-size farms producing food we can touch, see, buy and eat -- apples and carrots -- and shrink handouts to agribusiness

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-03-01

Opinion: Republicans' drive to weaken U.S. environmental protections leaves them little time to mull protecting farmland, wild lands from commercial development seen as essential to nation's health

The editors

The New York Times 2011-02-21

As subsidies rise for alternative fuels, fry-oil scavengers resort to frequent dining, cash payment, good tips at restaurants to ensure steady supply of free biodiesel for vehicle fillups

By Jeffrey Ball

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-02-15

Opinion: GOP budget eats America's seed corn to placate base, focusing cuts on programs that pay off in future, like providing extra nutrition to pregnant mothers, infants, and young children

By Paul Krugman

The New York Times 2011-02-14

Lawmaker and chair of Ag panel must walk a tightrope between addressing nation's nutrition needs, backing Michigan's second-largest industry and luring GOP backers

By Nathan Hurst

The Detroit News 2011-02-07

American Crystal Sugar, co-op of 3,000 sugar beet farmers, spends millions on lobbying, political campaigns in hopes that feds maintain price guarantees for its sugar and limits foreign competition

By Curtis Gilbert

Minnesota Public Radio 2011-01-25

In first cuts plan, Republican Study Committee leaves $5 billion in corn, soy, rice, wheat subsidies untouched, targets organic farmers, export promotion program, sugar growers

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2011-01-25

New businesses spurred by food safety law requiring that all players in food supply chain maintain digital records of where they bought all processed food and/or produce and where they sent it

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2011-01-23

Opinion: Congress should cut billions of dollars in farm subsidies that distort food prices, encourage overfarming and inflate price of land; continued pandering is out of touch

The editors

The New York Times 2011-01-15

New law letting USDA set standards for vending machine fare sold in schools could boost demand for healthy offerings, aiding small companies in that vending-machine niche

By Nick Leiber

Bloomberg Businessweek 2011-01-13

Opinion: To cut $100 billion, first replace subsidies to big agriculture with government matching funds for farmers' deposits into savings accounts; then tax carbon

By Kevin Hassett

Bloomberg Businessweek 2011-01-09

Beyond funding fight for food safety bill, other provisions likely to draw scrutiny include safety plans, risk-based inspections and standards guarantees from food importers

By Julian Pecquet

The Hill 2011-01-03

New dietary guidelines, fights over funding of food safety bill, initial salvos over 2012 farm bill, school meals, and food firms co-opting critics predicted to make 2011 headlines

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-01-02

Opinion: There is no corporate right to privacy; Congress should require that all significant donations from corporations that might affect elections, legislative debates or public policy be fully and promptly disclosed

By Alan B. Morrison

Politico 2010-12-30

Opinion: Obesity is not a Democratic or Republican issue; it is genuine public health emergency, with vast implications for nation's well-being, economy, national security

By Fred Hiatt

The Washington Post 2010-12-26

Opinion: Now, one in five children live in households where food is source of daily anxiety; we hope Congress remembers that costs of failing to protect children will be enormous

By David Rubin and Kathleen Noonan

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2010-12-12

Republicans who opposed food safety bill say it gives FDA authority but not accountability, that it will lead to higher food prices and that $1.4 billion cost isn't justified

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2010-12-21

Opinion: This year's salmonella outbreak in eggs, which are governed by separate rules than those of new food safety bill, is reminder of broader work that was left undone

The editors

The Washington Post 2010-12-22

Corn ethanol pits livestock industry against oil industry: "We've now ... inextricably linked the price of corn, to the price of crude oil, and I think we can't turn the clock back, that's the way it is," says economist

By Kathleen Masterson

National Public Radio/ Morning Edition 2010-12-22

FDA's ability to enforce new food safety law will depend on funds available to pay inspectors and staff; Republicans in House have vowed to slash spending

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-12-21

Beer, wine wholesalers seeking co-sponsors for bill gave at least $1.3 million in campaign cash to House lawmakers who signed on, focusing questions on timing of contributions in relation to official actions

By Chris Frates

Politico 2010-12-21

Senate passes food safety bill after weekend of negotiations, strategy sessions and several predictions about bill's demise; bill won't affect meat, poultry, some egg products

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-12-20

Opinion: Now that tax-cut deal is done, Obama must rebut calls for premature spending cuts; if required, first cuts must include subsidies for corn ethanol, other farm products

The editors

The New York Times 2010-12-19

Food safety bill looks dead after its host, omnibus spending legislation, fails; bill would give FDA ability to recall tainted food, set quarantines, access food producers' records

By Jason Millman

The Hill 2010-12-17

Opinion: 22,000 a day signing up for SNAP in U.S.; this level of food stamp use could prove unsustainable in current economy, since some funding was taken for Child Nutrition Reauthorization

By Marion Nestle

The Atlantic 2010-12-15

Coalition of farmers, shippers, state governments press Congress to add tens of millions to Corps of Engineers' budget to ensure annual dredging of Mississippi River

By Cameron McWhirter

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-12-14

Government has long been deeply involved in regulation of food and what we eat, policy experts say in response to right-wing voices critical of child nutrition bill, food safety bill

By Sherisse Pham

ABC News 2010-12-15

Opinion: In tax bill, lawmakers serving agribusiness and ethanol illustrates public choice school of economics, where government, special interests collude against public good

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-12-13

With current food safety bill, origins of contaminants in meats, other edibles in U.S. food should be faster, easier to uncover and trace

By Katherine Harmon

Scientific American 2010-12-07

Opinion: Sausage makers, who use one recipe, specified ingredients and quality control, insulted by comparisons of their art with lawmaking

By Robert Pear

The New York Times 2010-12-05

Lawmakers from some agricultural states say they will vote against food-safety bill because of amendment that exempts small, local farms from some regulations

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-12-03

Diverting funds from food stamp program to child nutrition bill and to states looking to avoid teacher layoffs largely negates increase provided by 2009 economic stimulus plan

CNN 2010-12-02

New food safety bill would require about $1.4 billion in additional spending over next five years, mostly at FDA; agency had total budget of less than $3.3 billion in past fiscal year

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-11-30

House may block food safety bill because Senate Democrats violated constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in House; next session of Congress could start from scratch

By John Stanton

Roll Call 2010-11-30

Senate food safety bill doesn't sort out overlapping jurisdictions among FDA, other federal agencies; new bill doesn't cover meat, poultry and eggs because USDA regulates them

By Les Blumenthal

McClatchy Newspapers; The Miami Herald 2010-11-30

House OKs $4.6 billion to settle claims by black farmers, allegations of American Indians; $562 million from feeding program for mothers, babies will help finance payment

By James Rowley and Alan Bjerga

Bloomberg Businessweek 2010-11-30

Opinion: For true advancements in food safety - unlike the bill that just passed the Senate - use inspections to help employees become more successful and to solve problems

By Aubrey C. Daniels

The Washington Post 2010-11-30

Opinion: FDA food safety bill, scheduled for Senate vote, only expands ineffective bureaucracy, offers no common-sense reforms; free market drives innovation, safety

By Tom Coburn

USA Today 2010-11-22

Corn-based ethanol support wasn't good policy, says former VP Gore; subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year and industry will use 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop this year

By Gerard Wynn

Reuters 2010-11-22

Opinion: Lame-duck Congress needs to approve child nutrition bill and House food safety bill that would significantly strengthen FDA ability to combat food-borne illnesses

The editors

The New York Times 2010-11-16

Despite our stated aim to stop illegal immigration, our inconsistent laws, policies and attitudes say otherwise, so farmers get cheap labor, illegals get jobs, shoppers get low food prices

By Chris Collins

The Fresno Bee 2010-11-14

Incoming legislators' vow to cut spending brings farm subsidies into focus - they have brought money and jobs to districts, benefited some GOP lawmakers, families

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; salon.com 2010-11-14

Analysis: Elections show families' struggles for food, shelter and growing impatience for action; showing benefits of local, regional food systems critical to securing policy advances

Community Food Security Coalition 2010-11-10

Opinion: To wield power responsibly, conservatives must recall that post-Depression social welfare programs provided civic stability so people could buy food, pay rent, sustain economy

By David Frum

The New York Times 2010-11-14

Analysis: Draft deficit commission report is opinion of two guys; any serious plan will spend about 98 percent of its time on health care, since it's our only real spending problem

By Kevin Drum

Mother Jones 2010-11-10

Vicky Hartzler, farmer, teacher and new House member from Missouri, aims to trim agricultural subsidies; her farm received about $774,000 from 1995 through 2009

By Robert Koenig

St. Louis Beacon (MO) 2010-11-09

Tyson, Syntroleum now making diesel and jet fuel from chicken fat, beef tallow but, like other alternative energy projects, say their new venture needs tax break restored to survive

By Jeffrey Ball

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-11-08

Lame duck Congress may take up Child Nutrition Act sponsored by outgoing Senator Blanche Lincoln; at issue is $2.2 billion in funding for bill from food stamps cuts

By Alyson Klein

Education Week 2010-11-01

Kirsten Gillibrand retains NY Senate seat; as member of Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, she backs improving child nutrition, school lunches, food safety

Poughkeepsie Journal 2010-11-02

Republican majority in House may cool interest in food safety initiatives; Frank Lucas, new Ag Committee chair, has degree in Ag Economics, represents wide band of Ag interests

By Dan Flynn

Food Safety News 2010-11-03

McDonald's says it has no plans to drop health plans for 30,000 employees, but is in talks about small-business franchisees required to carry plans that use 80 percent of premiums for medical costs

By Bruce Japsen

Chicago Tribune 2010-09-30

In Arkansas, farmers complain about federal spending, health care reform and Blanche Lincoln, even though she is in position to help them as chair of Senate ag committee

By Campbell Robertson

The New York Times 2010-10-01

As the Senate left town for campaign trail, Harry Reid, majority leader, moved to proceed in November on bipartisan food safety bill; 60 votes will be needed

CQ Politics 2010-09-30

Concerns grow over food-stamp funding of child nutrition bill; expert predicts that cuts to SNAP would increase poverty and obesity as recipients buy cheaper, calorie-dense food

By Robert Pear

The New York Times 2010-09-23

House leaders taking less generous Senate version of child nutrition bill to floor; anti-hunger groups oppose paying for measure by ending temporary boost in food stamps

CQ Politics 2010-09-23

Tight Senate calendar, stubborn senator from Oklahoma and unusual coalition of left- and right-wing advocates for small farmers stall food safety bill

By Gardiner Harris

The New York Times 2010-09-18

Oklahoma senator, citing burgeoning federal budget, set to block passage of sweeping food safety overhaul that House approved more than a year ago

By Meredith Shiner

Politico 2010-09-14

Opinion: Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act is opportunity to use school lunch to address both hunger, obesity problems; we can find funding when it's a priority - and now is the time

By José Andrés

The Atlantic 2010-09-09

Opinion: With next farm bill, it's time to prevent giant meatpackers from owning animals before time for slaughter, to restore open markets and let small farmers back into game

The editors

The New York Times 2010-09-08

Opinion: Industrial meat, egg factories excel at manufacturing cheap food, but evidence shows model is economically viable only because it passes on health costs to public

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2010-09-02

Opinion: Industrial agriculture has reduced cost of food but at steep cost to public health, as salmonella outbreak shows; lawmakers must resist Big Ag to pass food safety bill

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2010-09-01

Opinion: Senate, balking at cost of House food safety bill, must weigh inspections' price against 5,000 annual deaths, $152 billion annual costs of food-borne ills, and adopt bill

The editors

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2010-08-26

Opinion: With her plan to pay Arkansas farmers retroactive disaster assistance - with the most money going to the richest - Blanche Lincoln is example of spending problem

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-08-27

Big food companies spend millions of dollars lobbying lawmakers on pending legislation regarding child nutrition, water, pesticides, food safety, recycling, BPA, immigration

By Laurel Curran

Food Safety News 2010-08-11

Senate's refusal to pass food-safety bill has hampered recall of 600 million eggs linked to salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 2,000, experts and lawmakers say

By Meredith Shiner

Politico 2010-08-24

Opinion: Beyond Blanche Lincoln's back-door plan to nearly double Arkansas agriculture subsidies is funding source: raiding Section 32, used for feeding needy children

The editors

The Washington Post 2010-08-25

Without labor of illegal immigrants, food in US would cost "three, four, or five times more," which is why we need comprehensive immigration reform, says USDA head

By Roger Simon

Politico 2010-08-25

Review: In "The Coming Famine," terrifying facts make book gripping, but author's solutions inspire: mandate food and waste composting, fund research, educate on costs of food

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2010-08-25

In rebuttal to NYT opinion piece, experts say locavores care for community, biodiversity, local economy, fresh foods, flavor, joy of eating, well-treated workers, fewer wide-reaching food-borne illnesses, public policy, diet-related disease - and food mil

By Tom Philpott

Grist 2010-08-20

Opinion: It's grounding to hear that Senator Jon Tester is spending his summer vacation harvesting wheat on his farm

The editors

The New York Times 2010-08-10

Opinion: If Congress lacks guts to meet vital needs with deficit financing, it should have decency to chisel some less-humane program than food stamps

The editors

The New York Times 2010-08-06

Opinion: As Senate cuts SNAP (with every $1 spent creating $1.70 of economic activity) by $6.7 billion to get less Medicaid, teacher funding than needed, pols push tax cuts for rich

By Ezra Klein

The Washington Post 2010-07-30

Opinion: In Child Nutrition Bill before Congress, our country has major opportunity to make our schools and our children healthier, one too important to let pass by

By Michelle Obama

The Washington Post 2010-08-02

Kellogg cereal recall hints at huge gaps in government's knowledge about risks of the 80,000 chemicals in everyday products, from food to furniture to clothing

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-08-02

Furor erupts over provision in energy bill requiring disclosure of chemicals used in fracking for natural gas; process currently is mostly exempt from Safe Drinking Water Act

CQ Politics 2010-07-28

Opinion: Food safety legislation seeks protection for weakest and restraint on unchecked corporate power; no one should lose a child because Senate lacks will, leadership

By Eric Schlosser

The New York Times 2010-07-24

Democrats quarrel over BPA amendment, stalling bill that would give FDA power to recall tainted food, quarantine geographic areas and access food producers' records

By Julian Pecquet

The Hill 2010-07-19

Opinion: Union's sly want-ad for dirty, hard work at low pay focuses on immigration reform and effort to legalize undocumented farm laborers, meatpackers, poultry pluckers

The editors

The New York Times 2010-07-16

Opinion: Policies that protect our health are fully American - when a bottle of soda costs less than a bag of oranges, we can't experience our full range of choices

By Larry Cohen

The Huffington Post 2010-07-08

Lawmaker's bill could raise billions to fund child nutrition and anti-obesity initiatives by preventing junk food, fast food companies from writing off ads targeted to kids

By Lucia Graves

The Huffington Post 2010-07-12

Three variables will determine effects of climate change legislation on farm sector - production costs, biofuel sector, land use - says USDA study

USDA 2010-07-01

Opinion: Farm labor isn't for everyone, but it should be honored work, with decent wages and working conditions; farm workers feed the nation

By Douglass Adair

Los Angeles Times 2010-07-10

Opinion: New health care law, with prevention panel, could turn current "sick care" system into one that helps keep people healthy

By John Seffrin, Larry Hausner and Nancy Brown

Politico 2010-06-15

House panel votes to ease restrictions on sale of commodities to Cuba, travel there; bill supported by business and farming groups

By Yeganeh June Torbati

The New York Times 2010-06-30

Lawmaker urges $8 billion more funding over 10 years for child nutrition programs, including school meals, farm-to-school programs, new standards for cafeteria workers

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-06-10

Industrial beef, pork, poultry groups tell lawmakers to end, not extend ethanol subsidies, due to expire at end of 2010

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-04-29

Idaho agriculture contingent - fruit growers, wine makers, and dairy producers - urge lawmakers to reform immigration, guest worker program to ensure steady flow of farm labor

By Brad Iverson-Long

Idaho Reporter 2010-05-01

House bill would smooth way for cash agricultural sales to Cuba already allowed under previous reforms; ease could lead to more sales, more jobs for U.S., official says

By Doug Palmer

Reuters; The Washington Post 2010-04-29

Senate struggles over how to regulate small and organic growers without ruining them while upping food safety, but ignores industrial animal industry where food pathogens breed

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-04-25

Citing obesity epidemic as emerging national security threat, retired military officers urge Congress to fund, support better school meals

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2010-04-20

Nonpartisan pork watchdog group cites lawmakers for $693,000 in beef improvement research; $2.6 million in potato probe

CNN 2010-04-14

Opinion: Biggest bang for our taxpayer dollars is childhood obesity prevention; Let's Move starts process of making children's food healthier

By David Wallinga, M.D.

The Huffington Post 2010-04-09

Opinion: With child obesity growing three times faster than adult obesity, problem is nothing short of child abuse and it needs broad-based interventions

By Susan Dentzer

Health Affairs 2010-03-04

Opinion: Child nutrition bill is health care issue because better school meals for millions of children is preventive medicine at its best

The editors

The New York Times 2010-04-04

Opinion: Bipartisan duo offers alternative to Waxman-Markey kludge in 40-page cap-and-cash bill that leaves worst carbon polluters paying

By Bill McKibben

The New Republic 2010-04-05

House passes bill on harmful algal blooms, which can be caused by runoff of agricultural fertilizers heavy in nitrogen, phosphorous

CQ Politics 2010-03-12

House passes bill on harmful algal blooms, which can be caused by runoff of agricultural fertilizers heavy in nitrogen, phosphorous

CQ Politics 2010-03-12

Opinion: Forcing higher premiums on those who overeat oversimplifies complex issue that includes social status, income, family dynamics, education, genetics

By Sandeep Jauhar, M.D.

The New York Times 2010-03-29

Lawmakers move to fund school meal improvements by cutting anti-pollution programs rather than crop subsidies linked to obesity epidemic

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-03-25

New health law requires chain eateries to post nutrition information on menus, drive-through signs, vending-machine fare

By Stephanie Rosenbloom

The New York Times 2010-03-24

New child nutrition bill would provide less than half of increase asked by administration, but would be first increase since 1973

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-03-17

Bill that would lift restrictions on Cuban purchases of U.S. food, end limits on American travel there splitting GOP farm-state lawmakers

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-03-13

Though lawmakers claim independent judgment, campaign donors expect return on investments, and experience makes outcome a good bet

By R. Jeffrey Smith

The Washington Post 2010-03-07

Salmonella fears prompt recalls of thousands of processed foods; officials say recall could be largest in history

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-03-05

Opinion: With destructive rider to federal jobs bill, California senator's attempt to divert water to farmers risks delicate compromise

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2010-02-17

Opinion: Costs of upgrading school meals are minimal when compared with benefits and savings in long-term health care costs

By Bonnie Erbe

Scripps Howard News Service 2010-02-09

With public-private coalition, First Lady aims to end childhood obesity in a generation

By Mimi Hall and Nanci Hellmich

USA Today 2010-02-09

Opinion: To reduce childhood obesity, fix Farm Bill, which determines what children eat at school meals and subsidizes main ingredients of junk food - corn, wheat, soy

By Karen Nelson

Tucson Citizen 2010-02-08

Opinion: Because obesity threatens national security, group of military retirees calls for extra funding to improve school meals, snacks, other nutrition programs

By Johnnie E. Wilson

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2010-02-08

Administration wants to improve school meals by dumping junk food, raising enrollment in school meals, linking local farmers with cafeterias and improving parent and student nutrition education

By Henry C. Jackson

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2010-02-08

Blog: Resource as valuable as school gardens shouldn't depend on unpaid volunteers or overloaded teachers

By Sarah Bernardi

The Slow Cook 2010-02-08

Opinion: In halls of Congress, "finish the kitchen" becomes metaphor for health-care reform

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

The Washington Post 2010-02-08

Soda lobby, joined by paper industry, some truckers, kills plan to tax sugared beverages

By Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger

Los Angeles Times 2010-02-06

Opinion: Obama's words on strengthening trade welcome, since international trade is responsible for financial stability of one in five Americans

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2010-02-05

Budget would increase nutrition programs by $10 billion over 10 years while cutting equivalent amount in farm subsidies and crop insurance

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-02-01

After glimpse of 2011 budget, school food reformers plan to rally parents

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2010-02-02

In budget, USDA wants more food safety tests, more funding for federal feeding programs that now aid nearly 1 in 5 Americans

By Kimberly Kindy

The Washington Post 2010-02-02

Under new budget, food safety big winner for FDA, with increase of $318 million to fund tracking of foods, audits, inspections

By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel

Science Magazine 2010-02-01

Analysis: Farm-to-school, garden pilot program included in Obama's new budget

Food Research and Action Center 2010-02-01

Opinion: Strengthening Child Nutrition Act will improve nation's fiscal health, national security

By Debra Eschmeyer

The Huffington Post 2010-01-27

Opinion: Congress should expand and improve quality of school meals program

The editors

San Jose Mercury News 2010-01-25

From ammonia to gamma rays, debate continues on ways to make meat supply safer

By Steve Mills and Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-01-21

Higher food prices, recession, fresh school lunches add $1 billion to child nutrition costs, groups say

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2010-01-22

As hunger climbs, car biofuels using quarter of grain supplies, analysis suggests

By John Vidal

The Guardian (UK) 2010-01-22

Lawmakers urge Vilsack to enact curbs on antibiotic use in livestock to reduce threat to human health

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-01-20

Farmers' diversified agriculture system may solve energy, health care and climate crises, Michael Pollan tells farmers

By Matthew Weaver

Capital Press (Salem, OR) 2010-01-17

Opinion: Food safety lapses give urgency to term 'mystery meat'

The editors

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2010-01-05

Biofuels subsidies divert supply of timber byproducts used for budget kitchen cabinets

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2010-01-10

Books: Simultaneously promoting obesity and hunger in school lunches

Books: Simultaneously promoting obesity and hunger in school lunches

By Michael O’Donnell

Washington Monthly 2010-01-07

Top 10 issues in 2010: Hunger, childhood obesity, food safety rules, food ads and labels, meat, sustainable agriculture, GM, chemicals, salt and Dietary Guidelines

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-01-03

More than 31.2 million children receive free or reduced-price school lunches

By Barbara Barrett

McClatchy-Tribune News Service; Chicago Tribune 2010-01-06

Slow pace, bureacracy of school lunch reform frustrate parents

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-01-05

Opinion: Coal investors fuel long-term wealth destruction for short-term gains, climate change

By Jeremy Leggett

The Guardian (UK) 2009-12-30

Overuse of antibiotics in livestock causes plague of drug-resistant infections, researchers say

By Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza

The Associated Press; San Francisco Chronicle 2009-12-28

Opinion: Senate bill a step toward new system of food safety

The editors

The New York Times 2009-12-21

In U.S. climate debate, agricultural interests wield outsize influence

By Dan Morgan

European Affairs 2009-12-10

New bill would promote farm-to-school program, salad bars for school lunches

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-12-16

Vilsack questions USDA's estimate of foresting 20 million acres of cropland for climate

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-12-18

Opinion: Until restrainers beat expanders, climate crises - water, soil - will continue

By George Monbiot

The Guardian (UK) 2009-12-14

Opinion: Maybe health care begins in our plastic food containers

As debate continues on health insurance and mammograms, lingering question is whether our ills have more to do with contaminants in our water or air or in plastic containers. What if surge in asthma, childhood leukemia reflect, in part, poisons we impose upon ourselves? Physicians at cancer symposium say they avoid microwaving food in plastic or putting plastics in the dishwasher, because heat may cause chemicals to leach out; they say avoid plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7. And: Lawmaker pushes for legislation to study links between women's reproductive health and chemicals that may cause hormone disruption (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-12-05

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Farming sector doomed Copenhagen deadline for emissions bill

American farmers' dependence on cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer, fuel, pesticides doomed chance to pass cap-and-trade emissions bill before Copenhagen climate summit. Climate change debate prods sore spots: liberal versus conservative, urban versus rural, coasts against heartland. Rural Americans are on average poorer than urban compatriots, and rely more on fossil fuel; poor, conservative areas emit more carbon dioxide per head than rich, liberal ones, and politicians from such areas are less likely to support carbon curbs. That was why House cap-and-trade bill had to be sweetened - and made less effective - with hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of giveaways.

The Economist 2009-11-12

Farming sector doomed Copenhagen deadline for emissions bill

American farmers' dependence on cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer, fuel, pesticides doomed chance to pass cap-and-trade emissions bill before Copenhagen climate summit. Climate change debate prods sore spots: liberal versus conservative, urban versus rural, coasts against heartland. Rural Americans are on average poorer than urban compatriots, and rely more on fossil fuel; poor, conservative areas emit more carbon dioxide per head than rich, liberal ones, and politicians from such areas are less likely to support carbon curbs. That was why House cap-and-trade bill had to be sweetened - and made less effective - with hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of giveaways.


Senator wants BPA ban in food containers for young children

New York senator proposes ban of BPA (bisphenol A) in food packaging for children aged three and younger. Under BPA-Free Kids Act, children's food, beverage containers containing BPA would be considered a banned hazardous substance; bill also would allow for appropriation of $25 million over five years to fund research into effects of BPA exposure on all age groups and pregnant women. And: BPA commonly found in in coatings for inside of cans containing foods, in water bottles, baby bottles and some dental fillings (click 'See also').

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2009-11-18

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Child hunger spikes upward as result of weak economy

In 2008, nearly 17 million children - more than one in five - were living in U.S. households in which food at times ran short, report shows. Number of children who sometimes were outright hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million. Among people of of all ages, nearly 15 percent last year did not consistently have adequate food; shortages worst among single mothers raising children alone. Feds' anti-hunger efforts include using $85 million to experiment with ways to get food to more children in summers, and next push is renewal of main law covering food, nutrition for children (click 'See also' to see Food Research and Action Center list of child nutrition bills).

By Amy Goldstein

The Washington Post 2009-11-16

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Opinion: Divert Big Ag subsidies to community food infrastructure

Opinion: Divert Big Ag subsidies to community food infrastructure


Helping rebuild ecologically sane, accessible local-food economy proved extremely challenging for reporter-turned-farmer. Food industry consolidation shuttered community-scale processing facilities, created factories geared to large-scale farms. Explosion in size of operations means dirt-cheap, low-quality food that generates massive ecological, social problems. For sustainable food, feds must make smart, relatively low-cost investments beyond USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program. Reducing Big Ag subsidy payments and diverting the proceeds into local-food infrastructure is change we can believe in ... and savor.

By Tom Philpott

Newsweek.com 2009-11-11

Lobbyists fight soda tax as health care reform funding source

During the first nine months of 2009, soda makers, supermarket companies, agriculture, fast-food business spent more than $24 million lobbying Congress on issue of tax on sweetened beverages plus other legislative and regulatory issues, reports show. Coalition fears what could be movement to raise money for health care reform by taxing sweetened beverages. Farm-dominated Senate Finance Committee sympathetic to food industry; Max Baucus hails from Montana, large producer of sugar beets; Iowa, home state of Chuck Grassley, is nation's largest producer of corn.

By Christine Spolar and Joseph Eaton

The Huffington Post 2009-11-06

Opinion: Hunger, not health-care reform, is true 'fiscal child abuse'

Nearly half - 49.2 percent - of all American children get food stamps at some point; in African-American families, number is a stunning 90 percent. 'Safety net' that should have been ready to catch hungry children is weak, under stress from decades of cuts. In recession, some Americans who complained about paying taxes to help poor will find themselves needing food stamps. What will convince us to rebuild safety net? When ideologues tag as 'fiscal child abuse' the stimulus package or health-care reform, we have to ask: What do you call the fact that kids are going hungry today?

The editors

Philadelphia Daily News 2009-11-06

Senate's plan to reward diet, exercise choices criticized

Rewarding employees for losing weight, exercising undercuts reformists' anti-bias vow for those with pre-existing medical conditions and could mean higher insurance rates for less-fit Americans, critics of Senate plan say. Safeway grocery chain uses reduced car insurance premiums for good drivers as model. If employees pass annual test that measures obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking, they get 20 percent discount on insurance cost. And: Seventy percent of health-care costs are direct result of behavior; 74 percent of all costs caused by heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, writes Safeway head (click 'See also').

By Janet Hook

Los Angeles Times 2009-11-04

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Flu bill would grant 5 paid sick days to lunch ladies, waiters

In effort to slow spread of swine flu, new legislation would guarantee five paid sick days for workers with contagious illness who are sent home by their employers. School cafeteria workers, restaurant employees, others in contact with public and without paid sick leave (click 'See also') otherwise would go to work with H1N1 and spread virus, says bill's sponsor. 39 percent of private-sector workers do not receive paid sick days, while among the bottom 25 percent of wage earners, 63 percent do not. Bill would apply to businesses with 15 or more employees.

By Steven Greenhouse

The New York Times 2009-11-03

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Lawmaker looks to OK food safety bill by year's end

FDA head endorses new role for agency but wants funding guarantee; lawmaker says he wants food safety bill OK'd by year's end. Fast track may be possible in part because of agreement among consumer groups and food industry that FDA's regulatory protocol is badly outdated. Supporters point to recent deaths and illness attributed to contaminated food and to recent recalls of spinach, cookie dough, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, peanuts and other products. Recalls together have cost food producers billions of dollars.

By Andrew Zajac

Los Angeles Times 2009-10-22

Change in behavior key to addressing climate change

We don't understand how to change human behavior in face of climate change. Fear is motivator but only when people feel personally vulnerable - when actors delivered speeches about climate change, 'air pollution,' with connotation of dirtiness, poor health, got strongest response. Human behavior underpins politics, technology, individuals; political parties will not pass legislation unpopular with electorate. And: Integrated problems - climate change, energy, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, poverty reduction, feeding a hungry and growing population- require integrated solution (click 'See also').

By Adam Corner

The Guardian (UK) 2009-10-26

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Climate change already affecting farmers on U.S. coast

In harbinger of climate change, fewer 'winter chill' days already reducing yields of almonds in California, cranberries in New Jersey, Massachusetts. Higher CO2 levels, longer growing seasons will bring increased fruit yields in Great Lakes region, plus droughts, bugs, big storms everywhere. That means lower crop yields, more pesticide use or forced switch to hardier crops, more crop insurance claims. Farm equipment emits large quantities of CO2 by burning fossil fuels; this was main reason agricultural states opposed Waxman-Markey bill (a.k.a. American Clean Energy and Security Act).

By Jeneen Interlandi

Newsweek.com 2009-09-25

Falling milk prices challenge dairy farmers in Europe, U.S.

European dairy farmers, angry over falling milk prices, pour milk on streets of Brussels, aim udder streams at police officers. And: New breeding technology that allows mostly female calves now adding tens of thousands to U.S. milking herds as milk prices tumble below production costs (click 'See also'). In attempt to raise milk prices, dairy industry group has paid farmers to send 230,000 cows to slaughter this year. Economists expect milk prices to recover gradually. Fertility institute is studying sex choice technique for use in people.

By Stephen Castle

The New York Times 2009-10-05

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Opinion: It's time to restructure dairy industry

It's time to revamp structure of dairy industry to eliminate boom-bust cycle. If USDA head wants to avoid replay of current fiasco, with $350 million dairy bailout on top of more than $1 billion in regular price-support and direct-payment programs, he will encourage radical thinking. Dairy farmers have milked taxpayers and consumers long enough. And: Test project in Maryland to make raw milk cheese could help struggling industry (click 'See also')

The editors

The Washington Post 2009-10-09

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Federal agencies directed to conserve water, reduce waste

With executive order, Obama requires federal agencies to measure greenhouse-gas emissions, then meet series of environmental targets over next decade. They include 50 percent recycling and waste diversion by 2015; 30 percent reduction in vehicle-fleet petroleum use by 2020; and a 26 percent improvement in water efficiency by 2020.

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-10-06

Bill would ban arsenic in nation's poultry industry

New York congressman introduces bill to ban use of arsenic compound known as roxarsone as a food additive. Bill 3624 called Poison-Free Poultry Act of 2009. And: Feeding arsenic to chickens promotes their growth (click 'See also'). EPA says 70 percent of the 8.7 billion broiler chickens produced annually are fed arsenic. In study, 55 percent of raw supermarket chicken contained arsenic; nearly 75 percent of breasts, thighs, and livers from conventional producers did too. Carcinogen contributes to heart disease, diabetes. Some drinking water naturally high in arsenic; runoff from fields covered with arsenic-laden chicken manure adds to problem.

washingtonwatch.com 2009-09-22

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Medicaid needs policy guidelines on diet-related disease care

Medicaid should hasten policy rules on obesity-related services for children, and consider need for guidance on similar services for adults, GAO says in report requested by Sen. Max Baucus. Many children, adults in Medicaid program are obese and need preventive services. And: Last year, Medicare spent $7 billion on diet-related disease drugs; obesity-related medical treatments cost $147 billion in 2008 (click 'See also').

American Hospital Association 2009-09-14

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Soda tax gains traction as health care funding source

Prominent doctors, scientists, policy makers say soda tax could be powerful weapon in reducing obesity, as cigarette taxes help curb smoking. Tax of penny per ounce on soft drinks, energy drinks, sports beverages, many juices and iced teas would raise $14.9 billion in its first year. Soda research shows that for every 10 percent rise in price, consumption falls 8 to 10 percent. Expert says tax is justified in part because obesity, diabetes often treated with public funds through Medicaid, Medicare.

By William Neuman

The New York TImes 2009-09-16

Focus on health care may delay Senate's food safety bill

Senator Tom Harkin says he hopes his committee can get food safety bill done this fall, but observers note that Senate is distracted by health care, financial services. Senate's bill likely to give FDA more authority over the 80 percent of food supply - everything but meat, poultry - that agency regulates. FDA moved ahead recently with rules for egg safety; last week, it revealed online registry where food processors are to report tainted ingredients. Administration also is creating a deputy administrator's position at FDA to oversee food safety.

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-09-13

Bill would require school meals to reflect Dietary Guidelines

Blanche Lincoln, new Agriculture Committee chair of Senate, introduces 'Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act of 2009' that would ensure school foods reflect most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (click 'See also'), and, 'to maximum extent practicable,' that school nutrition programs purchase widest variety of healthful foods that reflect those guidelines.

By Blanche Lincoln

The Library of Congress 2009-09-08

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Donor disclosure rule upheld for lobbying groups

Public has right to know names of donors to trade groups lobbying on bills before Congress, federal appeals panel rules. And: Congress due to update, reauthorize Child Nutrition Act, which includes $9.3 billion National School Lunch Program and sets school food policy (click 'See also').

By Bart Jansen

CQ Politics 2009-09-08

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Opinion: Feds subsidize causes, treatment of diet-related disease

By not addressing food system reform in health care reform, government is putting itself in position of subsidizing both the costs of treating Type 2 diabetes and consumption of high-fructose corn syrup. One of the leading products of American food industry has become patients for American health care industry. When terms like 'pre-existing conditions' vanish, relationship between health insurance industry and food industry will change. When health insurers can no longer evade costs of treating results of American diet, food system reform movement - farm policy, food marketing, school lunches - will gain powerful, wealthy ally.

By Michael Pollan

The New York TImes 2009-09-10

School meal reform 'birthright,' says chef; Congress may delay

Good nutrition is matter of social justice, says Ann Cooper, chef working to replace processed items with fresh fare on school meal trays. Parents should eat school meals to see what's served; cafeteria staff hired to heat-and-serve also must be trained to cook, and kitchens need cooking equipment. And: As Congress focuses on economic recovery, health care reform, food safety, climate change, reauthorization of Child Nutrition Act, which funds school meals, faces likely delay (click 'See also').

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

The Washington Post 2009-09-04

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Climate change bill would return farms, ranches to forest

Critics worry that climate-protecting reforestation plan could push food prices up, since financial incentives would encourage farmers, ranchers to plant trees. But growing food in 'climate change' areas would be costlier, says former Agriculture secretary. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the key global-warming gas. More trees also would improve water quality, because lower levels of pesticides, fertilizers are used on them. And: 3,500 trees planted on BP refinery property to clean up pollution in soils, groundwater (click 'See also').

By Traci Watson

USA Today 2009-08-20

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Solving U.S. food crisis begins with awakening the public

Industrial food system is based on selective forgetting and hidden costs: erosion of farmland, dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that birds can't raise their wings, rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals, acceleration of global warming, lapses in food safety, obesity epidemic that cost us extra $147 billion in doctor bills last year, the $50 billion-plus of taxpayer money poured into corn industry in last 10 years that makes fatty, sugary foods cheap and funds factory-farming of meat. With those price supports, a dollar buys 875 calories of soda, 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit. Consequences of food choices can no longer be ignored.

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2009-08-20

Window opens wide for school meals reform efforts

School food reform efforts, pushed by diet-related disease epidemic and nurtured by Obama administration, take root. USDA focusing on improving student health through better food, expected to upgrade nutrition standards this year. Agency also is studying farm-to-school, urban school food programs. NY senator's bill would ban trans fats, allow USDA to set tougher standards for a la carte items sold alongside subsidized school lunches. And: School lunch program, part of Child Nutrition Act that Congress takes up this fall, is focused path to food policy reform (click 'See also').

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2009-08-19

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Grocer, activist chef join forces for better school lunches

Grocer, activist chef join forces for better school lunches


Whole Foods Market joins Ann Cooper, chef, to improve school lunches. 'This is the social justice issue of our time, and schools have no money to help solve the problem,' says Renegade Lunch Lady. Co-president of upscale grocery store, chef plan to go to Washington to try to persuade lawmakers to improve the federal school meals programs in Child Nutrition Act, up for renewal this fall.

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2009-08-13

Taking political responsibility for cutting obesity rates

Anyone who smoked in an elementary-school hallway today would be thrown out. But if you served an obesity-inducing, federally financed meal to kindergarten student, you would fit right in. Parents are working longer, and eating takeout; real price of fruits, vegetables has risen 40-plus percent in 30 years; soda prices have fallen 33 percent. Solutions to obesity epidemic involve civic - even political - responsibility. They depend on the kind of collective action that helped cut smoking rates nearly in half.

By David Leonhardt

The New York Times 2009-08-16

Opinion: With Child Nutrition Act, Congress must keep children's well-being, not industry, in mind

With upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which regulates National School Lunch Program, Congress must reform policies that encourage children to eat unhealthy foods and that contribute to obesity epidemic, rising health-care costs. In 2007, the government allocated majority of child nutrition funds to meat, dairy, and eggs, only about 20 percent to fruits, vegetables. And: Primer on the bill, and how to get involved (click 'See also').

By Susan Levine

McClatchy-Tribune News Service; The Miami Herald 2009-08-02

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Opinion: Obesity epidemic demands prime-time address, slice in subsidies

When a quarter of your population has diabetes or is at risk, that screams for prime-time address. Obama has made no dent in farm subsidies that help agribusiness overproduce worthless calories, help Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds rank among most profitable companies for trash food and drinks. Capitol Hill must cut fat of subsidies, impose taxes on trash food producers, support cities and suburbs in redesigning streets, parks to support people who want to cycle or go out for a run and children who want to play outside.

By Derrick Z. Jackson

The Boston Globe 2009-08-01

Obesity epidemic ignored in health-care reform bills

Most health-care reform legislators ignore obesity epidemic. Expert says society uncomfortable with, or hasn't determined, reasons behind fat. She says it's a health care issue; conservative districts with most obese populations see fat as personal willpower/responsibility issue. Political danger alarms ring over data showing that obesity disproportionately affects poor and minority communities. Soda tax proposal seen as radical; food and beverage lobby spent $20 million-plus in Washington lobbying in 2008, contributed $15 million-plus to political campaigns in 2008 cycle. And: Obesity causing diseases that cost $147 billion last year, nearly 10 percent of all medical spending in nation (click 'See also').

By Lisa Lerer

Politico 2009-07-30

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Diet-related disease prevention enters debate on health care

In Congress, debate simmers over whether health care legislation should include preventive measures - farmers' markets, sidewalks, bike paths - to curb diet-related disease. Draft Senate bill would provide up to $10 billion annually for such community interventions; a 2008 report suggested that for $10 a person, U.S. could save $16 billion annually within five years in lower health care costs. Other lawmakers see ideas as wasteful spending.

By Kristina Sherry

Chicago Tribune 2009-08-05

Food safety bill falls short on first try in House

Sweeping food safety reform bill falls short in House on first try. Bill is strongly supported by White House, raft of consumer groups, plus some major industry trade groups, but is opposed by some farm interests. House bill places significant new responsibility on farmers, food processors to prevent contamination. It gives FDA new power to set safety standards for growing, processing food and requires it to sharply increase inspections, enforcement.

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-07-29

Opinion: Pass bill that closes loopholes on shark killing

Shark fin soup no reason to decimate species or ruin oceans. Finning, the practice of cutting fins off and dumping shark back into ocean, kills about 73 million a year. Losing top predators creates cascading imbalance. With no predators, smaller fish overpopulate, compromise water quality. Without healthy oceans, healthy fisheries are impossible. And: An estimated 10.7 million blue sharks killed annually for their fins, many of which are sold at Hong Kong shark fin market, report says (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York TImes 2009-07-29

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Titans seek 50-year farm bill that grows food, local ecosystems

Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Fred Kirschenmann - heroes of urban agrarian constituency - visit D.C. to promote 50-year-farm bill, a proposal for gradual, systemic change in American farming. Plan asks for $50 million annually for plant breeding and genetics research, puts forward vision of agriculture that values yields, local ecosystems, healthy food, rural communities. And: Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland, they write (click 'See also').

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-07-22

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Diet-related disease drives up health-care costs, study shows

Each obese patient cost health insurers, federal programs $1,429, or 42 percent more than normal-weight patient in 2006, study shows. Obesity-related medical treatments cost $147 billion in 2008, an 87 percent increase in past decade; rates of obesity, a major cause of diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, have more than doubled in last 30 years. Last year, Medicare spent $7 billion on diet-related disease drugs. A person is obese if body mass index is greater than 30 or weighs about 186 pounds for a person who is five feet, six inches tall. And: Calculate your BMI (click 'See also').

By Shannon Pettypiece

Bloomberg 2009-07-27

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First Lady sharpens focus to policies linked to obesity, preventive care, family support

First Lady sharpens focus to policies linked to obesity, preventive care, family support


After several months of focusing on her family, her garden and inspiring young people, Michelle Obama toughens message while taking care not to overstep bounds. She is taking on obesity, preventive care and corresponding government policies and legislation, as well as those of supporting military, working families.

By Rachel L. Swarns

The New York TImes 2009-07-18

Waxman food-safety bill alarms small-scale farmers

Small-scale farmers alarmed at Food Safety Enhancement Act steamrolling through Congress, say it could conflict with organic growing methods, trump environmental efforts. But others favor FDA regulation as way to fight proliferation of private, often unscientific, often secret food safety rules imposed by large buyers that have forced them to poison wildlife, destroy habitat and remove vegetative buffers that naturally filter pollutants and pathogens (click 'See also').

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-07-17

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First Lady, staff focusing on children's food issues

Challenge for Michelle Obama and staff is to craft strategy that uses her clout to make how we eat an integral part of national health-care debate. In September, during Congressional debate over funding for child nutrition programs including school meals, staffers say First Lady will continue to link personal to political by gardening and by cooking - and by eating with her family and with students.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-07-15

In quest for food safety, 'scorched earth' policy could affect farms nationwide

Panicked push for food safety leads to 'foolhardy' attempt to sanitize farm fields in California despite evidence suggesting industrial agriculture may be bigger culprit - and plan may go nationwide. To appease large produce buyers, farmers are poisoning ponds, ripping out vegetation harboring pollinators and filtering storm runoff. Fences and poison baits line wildlife corridors; dying rodents are leading to deaths of owls, hawks that naturally control rodents. Surprisingly little is known about how e.coli is transmitted from cow to table. And: Industry-generated food safety system no substitute for federal regulation, says food safety expert (click 'See also').

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-07-13

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As workers' diet-related health costs rise, employer mandates checkups

After years of steep costs for employees' diabetes, heart disease, Pennsylvania firm mandates free health testing and some workers get 'wake-up call,' make diet, lifestyle changes. In health reform efforts, chronic conditions like diabetes are major focus - they affect 130 million-plus Americans, account for three-quarters of total health spending.

By Anna Mathews

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-07-08

Opinion: Action needed on food safety bill

Coming after problems with tainted tomatoes, peanuts and pistachios, recall of Nestlé's raw cookie dough is another warning about weakness of nation's food safety system. Congress should move forward on new bill that would give FDA more money, authority, including much-needed power to recall products and make it easier for agency's inspectors to view company's food safety records, consumer complaints.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-07-05

Real source of obesity epidemic is federal corn subsidies

While one hand of federal government campaigns against obesity epidemic, the other hand subsidizes it by writing farmers a check for every bushel of corn they can grow - undermining public-health goals by loosing tide of cheap calories. Challenge is to rewrite those rules, to develop new set of agricultural policies that don't subsidize overproduction - and overeating. Unless we deal with mountain of cheap grain that makes Happy Meal and Double Stuf Oreo such 'bargains,' calories will keep coming.

By Michael Pollan

The New York Times 2003-10-12

Use Minnesota's model for food-borne illness detection, lawmaker says

Lawmaker advocates $20 million overhaul of food-borne illness detection system modeled on Minnesota's successful program, which relies on DNA testing plus intensive, early questioning of victims. Under proposal, five regional centers would train, assist health officials in advanced methods to trace illnesses to food sources.

By David Shaffer

Star-Tribune (MN) (may require registration) 2009-05-28

Senator vows advocacy for application-free lunch program

Instead of shutting down Philadelphia's Universal Feeding program for impoverished schools, Pennsylvania senator urges Obama to extend it to all cities, also vows to include the application-free lunch program in child-nutrition bill reauthorization. If that doesn't work, veteran lawmaker vows to use his power on senate agriculture panel to expand program.

By Alfred Lubrano

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2009-05-28

New bill would add transparency to food system

Key House leaders vow more frequent site inspections, mandatory preventive actions by manufacturers in new food safety bill. Proposal would require growers, manufacturers, food handlers to ID contamination risks, document preventive steps and share those records with feds, as well as require private labs to report pathogen detection. And: Obama administration launches website for its food safety working group (click 'See also')

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-05-28

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Opinion: When farmers choose biofuel crops, hunger, pollution rise

Farmers can grow food crops for one price, or same crops for biofuel for more plus tax credits. In 2007, amount of food turned into fuel could have fed 450 million for a year. Corn-based fuel additive use caused 10 percent to 15 percent of food price rise in one year. Higher food prices could cost Americans $900 million more for food stamps and child nutrition programs. Plus, amount of nitrous oxide (300 times more potent than CO2) released from farming corn, rape for biofuels had been underestimated by factor of 3 to 5 times.

By Ed Wallace

Business Week 2009-05-26

Opinion: Fighting malnutrition of poverty with fortified foods

Chronic malnutrition in West Africa worsened by high food prices, less money sent home from workers abroad. Lack of micronutrients - iron, zinc, vitamin A, iodine - last year may have caused extra 44 million children permanent impairment. Americans typically get micronutrients from fortified foods; same strategy possible in Africa. And: Adding iodide to salt could increase global IQ 1 billion points (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-05-26

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Legislation would include study of tobacco candy

Tobacco candy, estimated to contain half to three times nicotine of a cigarette, likely to to be studied for public health risks, especially to children. Lozenge-like Camel Orb in cell-phone shaped package being test-marketed in Portland, Indianapolis, Columbus. And: RJ Reynolds calls candy 'best tobacco you never smoked' (click 'See also').

By John Yaukey

Gannett News Service; Detroit Free Press 2008-05-20

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Senate mulls soda 'sin tax' to fund health care reform

Senate leaders consider watchdog group's proposed tax on soda, some fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas to help pay for health care reform. Proponents cite research linking consumption to diet-related disease, say tax would cut consumption, health problems, medical costs. Soda lobbyists say tax would hit lower-income Americans and wouldn't deter consumption. And: Amount of decline in smoking directly tied to size of state tax increase on cigarettes, analysis shows (click 'See also').

By Janet Adamy

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-05-12

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Obama wants double investment in global food security, feeding children

To aid global food security needs, Obama asks Congress to double financial support for agricultural development to $1 billion in 2010. Plan calls for providing U.S. food aid, capacity building, developmental assistance. He called for doubling funding to $200 million for USDA's McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps support education, child development, and food security for some of the world's poorest children (click 'See also').

USDA 2009-05-07

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Opinion: Ban all junk food at schools

Despite progress in providing more healthful foods in schools through federal meals program, junk foods abound outside the program. New legislation to give USDA authority over all food sold at schools should be supported to help stem epidemic of childhood obesity, diet-related diseases. And: Take this quiz to see if you know junk food (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York TImes 2009-04-26

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Clean Air Act should exempt cow emissions, says senator

Nebraska senator looks to exempt 'naturally occurring' livestock emissions containing methane and carbon dioxide from Clean Air Act. Legislation, he says, would protect his state, which ranks first in nation in commercial red meat production, from 'cow tax.' And: As meat consumption increases, scrutiny grows over emissions (click 'See also').

www.senate.gov 2009-04-17

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Obama farm subsidy cuts absent from Congressional budget outlines

House, Senate include no limits on farm subsidies in budget outlines despite Obama's ambitious plan to cut them, though Senate does make modest trim on crop insurance programs. Critic says administration was more careful in laying groundwork for initiatives on climate change, health care. Resolutions protect health care, energy, education and reduce deficit, say Democrats, administration.

By David M. Herszenhorn

The New York Times 2009-04-03

Legislators seek food safety reforms from Obama

In wake of salmonella outbreak, legislators offer proposals to fix food safety system, and expect Obama to act, since he vowed food safety reform as candidate. At least 12 agencies regulate food safety. Nearly all bills would require company plans for manufacturing, testing and record-keeping and would fund more intense inspections of food factories. Some would also fix patchwork system by which outbreaks are detected.

By Gardiner Harris and Pam Belluck

The New York Times 2009-01-30

Opinion: School lunch program is focused path to food policy reform

Opinion: School lunch program is focused path to food policy reform

Big Stock Photo

Sustainable food movement wants overhaul of nation's food system, but focus, call for specific action is way to real change. Best bet: Advocate for radical change with Congressional renewal of laws for school meals (click 'See also'). Currently, cash-strapped schools rely on government surplus, sales of soda, junk foods. Stricter nutrition standards, more funding for fresh food could change that, and both mesh with Obama's goal of ending childhood hunger.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-01-25

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Economy, wars, climate change usurp food safety reform efforts

For Congress, food safety slides behind economy, wars, climate change and health care, though Illinois senator is expected to reintroduce bipartisan food safety bill next month. GAO has for the last three years ranked food safety among biggest 'high-risk' challenges. And: Government, which scatters oversight among 13 agencies, seems likely to depend on industry to police itself, food supply (click 'See also').

By Aliya Sternstein

CQ Today 2009-01-22

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Diet-related disease again affects national security

After obesity flunks 47,447 aspiring soldiers in four years, Army recruiter lobbies for formal diet, fitness plan. Obesity is biggest challenge for potential military enlistees. And: During World War II, aspiring servicemen flunked, but for undernourishment, a national emergency that prompted 1946 National School Lunch Act, which guaranteed hot lunch for every schoolchild (click 'See also').

By Susanne M. Schafer

The Associated Press; Army Times 2009-01-13

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Opinion: Build new food system to make current model obsolete

Despite raging wars, tanking economy, reform of food system can't wait. Obama's stimulus package should bolster infrastructure of local, regional food systems by providing grants to rebuild slaughterhouses, other missing facilities that sustainable-minded farmers need; reinvesting in school-cafeteria kitchens; and launching Teach for America-style program to lure new cooking school graduates to school cafeterias.

By Tom Philpott

Grist 2009-01-09

Boost sought for food stamp program

Anti-hunger groups lobby Obama for $24 billion over two years to boost food stamp benefits. Nutrition advocates say that handing money to hungry Americans as part of economic stimulus plan is charitable - and good for economy, since money will be spent on food.

CQ Politics 2009-01-06

Preventing bad teeth, cascading health woes of poverty

Beyond joblessness or underemployment, bad teeth mark those without insurance-paid dentist visits. Loss of teeth makes eating fresh produce difficult; diet heavy in soft, processed foods exacerbates serious ills, like diabetes. Such preventive measures save money in health care. And: Obama predicts 'sobering' unemployment figures (click 'See also').

By Malcolm Gladwell

The New Yorker 2005-08-29

See also 

Opinion: Repairing safety net for growing ranks of poor

As ranks of poor grow, Congress should accurately measure poverty considering changes in food costs, addition of costs for child care, health care, and regional differences in cost of living. It also must boost food stamps, modernize unemployment compensation system and strengthen governments to help those in need.

The editors

The New York Times 2008-11-26

Underpinnings of food industry on legislative agenda

Legislative progress on environment, energy, health care on agenda with Henry Waxman, a keen negotiator, now at helm of powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce. But: Without reform on the way we grow, process and eat food in America, there will be no significant progress on these problems or on critical issue of national security, writes Michael Pollan in letter to new farmer-in-chief Barack Obama (click 'See also').

By Julie Rovner

National Public Radio/All Things Considered 2008-11-21

See also 

Congress has power to stop pollution deregulations

With Congressional Review Act, new president's OK, lawmakers could rescind upcoming Bush administration rules that otherwise could have lasting impact on water standards, air cleanliness, among other areas. And: Last deregulation push relaxes standards for drinking water, air as well as pollution from farms, mining (click 'See also').

By Avery Palmer

CQ Politics 2008-11-06

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Opinion: How does Wall Street rate over hungry Americans?

If Congress can conjure up vast sums for Wall Street bailout, why, when we speak urgently of a fraying social net, of charities reeling and empty food pantries, of tens of millions of Americans (the types who clean the likes of AIG and Freddie Mac at night) without food and shelter, is there not a penny available? Our nation's priorities are in the wrong place.

By Joel Berg

The Washington Post 2008-09-28

Poverty measure proposal reflects cheaper food

New federal poverty measure proposal accounts for diminished role of food in household spending (down from one third, in 1969, to one-eighth). New measurement includes spending on food, clothing, shelter, transportation, utilities, medical expenses and food stamps or housing subsidies. Measure determines eligibility for public assistance.

By Keith B. Richburg

The Washington Post 2008-07-14

Opinion: Backing crop research to fight hunger

In fighting hunger, basic crop research pays. The U.S. needs a substantial, renewed commitment to CGIAR, the consortium of internationally funded and staffed crop-research centers around the world. And: America must rebuild, not destroy collaborative research, says father of first 'Green Revolution' (click 'See also').

The editors

The Washington Post 2008-07-09

See also 

Bill would create food allergy guidelines for schools

Group pushes legislation that would create uniform food allergy guidelines for schools. Only Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee have statewide allergy plans. About two million school-age children have food allergies; eight foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions--peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

By Kelley Schoonover

The Associated Press; Greenwich Time (CT) 2008-06-07

As shark numbers decline, fin soup more popular

House OKs measure that would strengthen enforcement of ban on removing the fins of a shark and discarding the carcass, first established in the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000. And: fishermen from Spain and Indonesia are main culprits; soup is served as a celebratory treat for growing affluent class in China (click 'See also').

CQ Politics 2008-06-11

See also 

Rounding up support for biotech by lobbying lawmakers and government

Monsanto spent $1.3 million in first three months of 2008 to lobby lawmakers and policy officials on the farm/food bill, biotechnology, organic standards, patent reform, theft of agricultural seeds, endangered species, timber and greenhouse gas emissions legislation, international trade and ethanol production. And: About three-fourths of the corn, and about 90 percent of the soybeans planted in U.S. are genetically modified (click 'See also').

The Associated Press; Forbes 2008-05-28

See also 

Food aid separated from farm/food bill; farmer payments could grow by billions

Lawmakers say they will take up farm/food bill's trade policy section, which includes international food aid programs, as a separate bill after pages were inadvertently dropped from original version that was OK'd by Congress after president's veto. And: Little-noticed provision of farm/food bill could increase payments to farmers by billions of dollars if high commodity prices fall to more typical levels (click 'See also').

By Jonathan Weisman

The Washington Post 2008-05-23

See also 

Farm/food bill mistake

Clerical error omits 35 pages from farm/food bill sent from Congress to President Bush. Mistake may require Congress to re-submit complete bill. White House announced a veto on Wednesday; House then voted, 316-108, to override the veto. Stopgap bill may be needed; the latest short-term extension expires on Friday.

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2008-05-21

House OKs farm/food bill

House passes farm/food bill with 'veto-proof' margin. Key to strength of support is money for variety of special interests, including racehorse breeders and Vermont ski resort. Before vote, four lawmakers call bill 'a missed opportunity for the serious reform that would make our farm programs more equitable and fiscally responsible.'

By David Stout

The New York Times 2008-05-15

Farm/food bill fate predicted

President Bush will veto new farm/food bill, USDA secretary says, and lawmakers begin effort to override. The nearly $300 billion bill expands subsidies to farmers, protects sugar industry and boosts conservation. Most of the spending goes to food stamps, school lunches and other nutrition programs. For farm/food bill history, click 'See also.'

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-05-08

See also 

Accord on farm/food bill, yet lacking key details

New farm/food bill accord expands nutrition programs but largely maintains farm subsidies. In nod to idea that corn-based ethanol mandates help push food prices up, bill reduces tax credit for ethanol processors by six cents per gallon. Sticking point is pilot program to buy emergency food from local producers rather than shipping American crops overseas. Customs fees, mostly paid by importers, would finance new spending in bill.

By David M. Herszenhorn

The New York Times 2008-04-26

Incremental progress

As April 18 deadline for farm/food bill approaches, conference committee members agree on three of 11 policy components, but funding remains a problem. House negotiators object to $2.5 billion in energy tax credits the Senate insists on. Then there's the extra $10 billion the Senate wants for new farm programs and disaster aid.

CQ Politics 2008-04-15

Opinion/Blog: Farm/food bill proposal

Bipartisan House farm bill proposal avoids new taxes and includes: $9 billion increase for food stamps and nutrition programs; $4 billion increase for conservation programs and $1.3 billion more to benefit fruit and vegetable growers; and country-of-origin labeling of imported meat. It also guarantees farmers $52 billion in automatic payments over the next 10 years even if prices stay high. Click 'See also' for investigation of agricultural subsidies.

The editors

The Washington Post 2008-04-10

See also 

Farm/food bill in conference

In first joint meeting, farm/food bill leader's prepared remarks exhort Congressional conferees to 'carry through and finish this job.' House-Senate budget framework was built on assumption of $10 billion above the 10-year budget baseline. But success will require 'a lot more cooperation, reasonableness and flexibility from the White House.'

The editors

Agweb 2008-04-10

Opinion: What we sow

Tell everyone in Congress that they should vote on the farm/food bill as if the nation's health, future and security is at stake - it is. If proposed bill becomes law, agribusiness gets the most subsidies despite its damage to our health and the environment. Consider payments of $450,000 for construction of lined "lagoons" to hold factory farms' animal sewage; $4 billion for 'disasters' for those who plant corn, wheat in drought- and erosion-prone land.

By Daniel Imhoff

Los Angeles Times 2008-04-10

Opinion: Seeking agreement

The health and well-being of needy people alone ought to inspire those in Congress negotiating on farm/food bill - and the White House that needs to sign off on whatever they pass - to make compromises and get help to those who need it most. Extending current bill until after election would leave new Congress with sticky questions on farmer incentives.

The editors

The Plain Dealer (OH) 2008-04-09

Grasping for diverging goals

Seeking billions to fund nutrition and conservation, Democrats struggle against farm/food bill deadline and threat of Bush veto. Farm-state lawmakers protect $5 billion in automatic payouts that go each year to farmers who have historically planted subsidized crops. Reform-minded lawmaker says several colleagues have read 'The Omnivore's Dilemma.'

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2004-04-04

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Opinion: Disgrace in the making

If farm/food bill takes food from poor to pay millionaire farmers making profits from high food prices that are hurting the poor, it would be disgraceful. A bright spot in House bill is increased spending for nutrition programs. An obscenity in the Senate's version is disaster-assistance program that would encourage planting on marginal land. It's looking as if the nutrition budget will be cut to fund this environmentally destructive handout.

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2008-03-21

Opinion: Wrong crops for farm/food bill

Michigan grows varied range of crops - from apples to zucchini. If producers for corn, wheat, rice, cotton and soybeans (10 percent of the state's farms) continue to receive nearly two-thirds of all subsidies, how long before every cucumber and pumpkin field gets plowed under for corn or wheat? If Congress won't rein in subsidies, Bush should keep veto card in his hand.

The editors

Detroit Free Press 2008-03-13

Opinion: Millionaires' safety net

In farm/food bill, farmers close to scoring the most lavish subsidies ever, retaining a loophole for more money and enjoying a $5.1 billion emergency fund, at cost of increased taxes and trade distortions. Corn producers alone will get $10.5 billion over five years, on top of ethanol subsidies that in 2007 prompted conversion of 15.3 million acres to corn. This monster should die of its own greedy weight.

The editors

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-03-13

Farm/food bill extension

Old farm/food bill extended again, as lawmakers continue debating non-tax ways to pay for new bill's expanded food and nutrition programs plus subsidies to commodities farmers. One squabble: a $5 billion fund that would pay farmers for weather-related crop loss. Dissenters say those funds shouldn't be tied to farm/food bill.

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; The Guardian (UK) 2008-03-12

Opinion: Farm/food bill squabbling

There's no justification for spending billions more on agriculture. The farm/food bill should have been redrafted to cut crop subsidies and cap payments to rich farmers, devoting savings to deficit reduction and increases in food stamps to help the poor buy food for themselves and their families.

The editors

The Washington Post 2008-03-09

Labeling Wisconsin's own

Labeling Wisconsin's own

Wisconsin Public Radio

Senators lobby to retain enforcement of Country Of Origin Labeling for ginseng in compromise farm/food bill. Wisconsin ginseng growers have complained that imported ginseng is sometimes mislabeled.

Yara Korkor

Wisconsin Public Radio; The Associated Press; WBAY 2008-03-03

See also 

Opinion: Strengthen 'farm to school'

Congress must resist the USDA's undermining of the farm-to-school program. This local food initiative helps children develop eating habits that defend against diet-related disease. It supports all farmers, not just those who grow fruits and vegetables. The farm/food bill panel needs to respond to communities and schools with innovation in food purchasing programs 'to the maximum extent possible.'

By Senator Ginny Lyons

The Times Argus (VT) 2008-03-02

Conservation, habitat concerns

Hunters worry that farm/food bill negotiations will neglect Conservation Reserve Program, which pays farmers to maintain wildlife habitat and protect water quality. Program, already challenged by high commodity crop and land prices, is credited with producing extra 2.2 million ducks and 13.5 million pheasants annually, protecting 170,000 miles of stream banks and keeping 450 million tons of topsoil where it belongs.

By Faith Bremner

Argus Leader (SD) 2008-03-01

Less for the hungry

Skyrocketing grain prices hit world's poorest while devastating budgets of emergency feeding programs. Administration has no plans to cover the shortfall in farm/food bill, still in negotiations, so food aid workers look at reducing number of countries served and amount of food delivered. Meanwhile, emergency requests increase.

By Anthony Faiola

The Washington Post 2008-03-01

Hunger, today or tomorrow?

As world hunger grows more urgent, U.S. lawmaker re-thinks his insistence on protecting funds for long-term foreign aid projects in farm/food bill. The program, Food for Peace, is the nation's largest food aid program. It finances nutrition, farming or other projects to avert future food emergencies.

By Missy Ryan

Reuters 2008-02-29

Farm/food bill delays

Farm/food bill still stalled as administration demands spending cuts or tax revenue for expanded programs. Senate agriculture committee head says negotiators have suggested all manner of funding proposals, but White House refuses to accept any of those ideas -- or put forth other options.

CQ Politics 2008-02-28

Farm/food bill cuts

In effort to avoid Bush veto of farm/food bill, House proposes less of an increase for federal nutrition programs, stricter limits on subsidies paid to rich farmers, removing the $5 billion fund for paying farmers who lose crops due to weather, and cutting back extra subsidies for some crops. The new version also would extend the legislation to 10 years.

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; San Francisco Chronicle 2008-02-13

See also 

Farm bill negotiators

Under threat of Bush veto, senators are chosen for negotiating farm/food bill compromise with House. They are Democrats Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; and Republicans Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Charles Grassley of Iowa, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Pat Roberts of Kansas. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, will chair the committee.

By Steve Miller

Rapid City Journal (SD) 2008-02-07

Now or later?

In classic "give a man a fish or teach him to fish" argument, Congress and administration debate ratio of $1.2 billion in emergency food aid in farm/food bill. Should more go to disaster assistance and humanitarian emergencies or for classes that teach nutrition and farming and could prevent famine and other catastrophes?

By Matthew Lee and Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press 2008-01-16

Farming bonanza

Despite threat of veto, and disparity with House version, Senate OKs its $286 billion farm/food bill, 79 to 14. Measure would give nearly $10 billion in new payments to farmers, including a $5.1 billion "disaster trust fund" to cover weather losses, plus a revenue insurance program that would cost taxpayers an extra $4.7 billion over 10 years.

By Dan Morgan

The Washington Post 2007-12-15

Subsidies protected

In 56-43 vote, Senate rejects bid in farm/food bill to cut annual payments to farmers from from $360,000 to $250,000. Bill also would have attempted to close loopholes that some farmers use to collect higher payments and would have required that farmers be "actively engaged" to receive subsidies.

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press 2007-12-13

Asparagus aid

Asparagus aid

Subsidies for asparagus farmers, set aside for first time in farm/food bill, singled out as example of wasteful spending in $286 billion legislation, but Senate keeps measure in bill. Already, group has killed plan that would have replaced subsidies with crop insurance.

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press 2007-12-12

Protecting subsidies

Senate kills amendment that would have phased out the usual subsidies in farm/food bill and replaced them with crop insurance for all farmers. Bill under debate extends and expands crop and dairy subsidies along with food stamps and other nutrition programs.

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press 2007-12-11

Coming to terms

No sooner than Senate agrees to cull amendments to farm/food bill in effort to pass it, left-right reform coalition begins mobilizing behind amendments to either radically overhaul crop subsidy system or to restrict large federal payments made to rich farmers.

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2007-12-08

Opinion: Rename game

As commodities farmers enjoy record prices and incomes and obesity epidemic rages, the way to refocus Congress and American people on bloated bill in Senate is to change its name from farm bill to nutrition bill, editors suggest.

The editors

The Mercury News (CA) 2007-11-13

Opinion: Treating symptoms

Slashing commodities subsidies addresses only a symptom, not the problem of the farm/food bill. Real reform in federal farm policy will come from changing the message to farmers, which, since the early '70s has increasingly been: Produce as much as you can."

By Tom Philpott

Grist 2007-11-08

Water power

In confirming adage that politics is local, Senate lines up with House to override Bush veto of waterways bill that approves but doesn't fund $23 billion projects, including Florida Everglades restoration and dam work along the Mississippi River.

By David Stout

The New York Times 2007-11-08

See also 

Bogged bill

As White House cites lack of reform and threatens veto of farm/food bill, Senate leaders consider deciding in private about number of amendments. Possible add-ons include those on Iraq war, immigration reform, estate tax and renewable fuels standards for ethanol industry.

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2007-11-06

Opinion: Making good

Bush vowed years ago to end expensive commodities subsidies but backed down. Now, his acting secretary of agriculture vows to recommend a veto of the Senate's version of the farm/food bill. Belated action is better than none for this bill and its billions in subsidies for corn, cotton, wheat, rice and sugar that U.S. agribusiness produces to excess.

The editors

The Cincinnati Post 2007-11-08

Opinion: Big drain

To help federally subsidized soybean farmers plant more crops, two Mississippi senators renew hard lobbying for $200 million project that would drain 200,000 acres of Delta wetlands, hardwood forests and wildlife habitat. The daft project, first proposed in 1941, should be killed by the Bush administration.

The editors

The New York Times 2007-11-06

Water works

House overrides Bush veto of $23 billion bill funding nearly 900 new water projects, including improving Depression-era locks and dams that impede agricultural freight traffic on the upper Mississippi River.

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2007-11-06

Opinion: Funding Twinkies

Existing farm/food bill fosters obesity and diabetes by subsidizing cheap junk food and fast food and encourages land, water and meat pollution by rewarding feedlot production of livestock and fence-row to fence-row cultivation of only a few crops. Then, its authors comfort critics with extra funds for nutrition programs and environmental cleanup.

By Michael Pollan

The New York Times 2007-11-04

Opinion: Farm bill progress

If Congress can triumph over farm-state legislators' desires and overcome inertia to approve Lugar-Lautenberg bill, crop insurance would replace subsidies. It would save $20 billion over five years, and would funnel the savings to valuable soil, open space and wetlands preservation programs, as well as the food stamps program.

The editors

The New York Times 2007-11-03

Opinion: Hunger relief

Food aid, a key provision of the farm/food bill, saves lives in natural disasters and emergencies, but it also addresses chronic hunger and fosters long-term development overseas and needs half the funds reserved for those projects, say Catholic archbishop and bishop.

By Wilton D. Gregory and J. Kevin Boland

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2007-11-02

See also 

Opinion: Again?

This federal relic of a farm bill should be disavowed by Republicans because it's against free markets, self-reliance and small government, and shunned by Democrats because bit payouts are going to the rich. But agribusiness lobbyists fund politicians' campaigns, so politicians promise dollars.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Chicago Tribune; Tribune News Services 2007-11-02

A little more

New amendments to farm bill may provide more money for land stewardship, rural development, energy and public nutrition, but increased payments to farmers of wheat, barley and canola in new legislation could spur challenges from World Trade Organization, Senate Agriculture chair says.

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2007-10-30

Farm/food bill

After fierce infighting, Senate Agriculture Committee votes to offer farmers an alternative safety net for low prices or bad weather; the $288 billion, five-year farm bill also provides additional funding for food stamps, conservation, fruit and vegetable industries, cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, and adds fish farming to insurance rolls.

By Dan Morgan

The Washington Post 2007-10-26

Opinion: Farm workers

As increased immigration raids target agricultural workers (70 percent of which are likely illegals), fruit rots and companies scramble; a better idea, editors say, is AgJOBS bill, which speeds guest-worker processing and grants temporary legal status to undocumented workers here for two years.

The editors

Boston Globe 2007-10-24

Business as usual

Derailed efforts to reform farm/food bill illustrates domination of farm-state lawmakers and deep-pocketed farm lobby, which controls legislation that will cost taxpayers some $288 billion over five years.

By David M. Herszenhorn

The New York Times 2007-10-24

Opinion: Farm bill reform

Paying billions to producers of crops like wheat, corn and soybeans complicates trade negotiations and discriminates against poor farmers overseas who cannot compete; if Senate bows to pressure as did the House, administration should veto the farm/food bill.

The editors

The New York Times 2007-10-20

Left out

Old-time power politics, mastered by savvy lobbies of cotton and corn, is about sharp elbows and opportunistic alliances with farm/food bill now in Senate; despite obesity epidemic, crops that most Americans recognize as food don't rank.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2007-10-04

Port reduction?

Latest proposal to safeguard safety of food would close hundreds of ports to entry, siphoning edibles through only 13 sites; grocery industry, importers and exporters predict trade disruption and soaring grocery prices.

By Andrew Bridges

The Associated Press; Washington Post 2007-09-26

Your score:

To determine your environmental footprint of those restaurant dinners and other lifestyle choices, play this game from American Public Media.

By Christopher Kennedy, Michael Skoler and others

American Public Media and Realtime Associates, Inc. 2007-09-19

Calculating future:

New university-created tool helps farmers compare financial impact of existing payments of farm/food bill with alternative plan recommended by the Durbin-Brown team.

By John Hawkins

Illinois Farm Bureau 2007-09-14

See also 

Money and power:

The farm/food bill, now in Senate, covers land conservation, food stamps, school snacks and foreign aid, but it's really about politics and money; House agriculture chair declares that advocates for change were pushing too hard, but Bush likely would veto its version.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune 2007-08-13

Letters: Future health:

It's the 303 million overfed and undernourished Americans who deserve nutritional health and better food safety through the farm/food bill being debated in Congress, writes nutrition professional.

By Connie Diekman

President, American Dietetic Association; Chicago Tribune 2007-08-28

Opinion: Water problem

Mountaintop removal coal mining, with toxic leftovers shoved into streams, foul residents' water and kill the fish; study traces mining pollution to children's nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and shortness of breath; long-term effects unknown.

By Eric Reece

Orion Magazine 2006-01-01

Call for change:

Call for change:

In groundbreaking presidential report, cancer panel calls down governmental polices that have made fruits and vegetables more expensive and less available, have limited physical education in schools and created an environment that discourages physical activity; food industry with its unhealthy food sales implicated as well.

MSNBC; Reuters 2007-08-16

See also 

Orphan organics?

Though customers spend more than $14 billion a year on organics and depend on USDA label even for imports, USDA infrastructure, with nine staffers and a $1.5 million budget, languishes; other departments spend about $28 million a year on organic research, data collection and farmer assistance, but the department spent $37 million subsidizing farmers who grew dry peas, an $83 million crop, in 2005.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times (may require subscription) 0000-00-00

Review: No time

Judging from plastic bottles clogging the landfills and SUVs clogging the highways, the news that we're killing ourselves and our world hasn't kicked in, so that makes "The 11th Hour," an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary, essential viewing.

By Manohla Dargis

The New York Times 2007-08-17

Opinion: Illegals

Bush administration deserves credit for pushing immigration reform, but enforcement-only plan for handling illegal immigrants could create potentially devastating consequences for farmers at harvest season.

The editors

Denver Post 2007-08-14

Fixing the system:

Religious groups mobilize around the farm/food bill, speaking of justice and the urgent need to fix broken food system, from nutrition programs and energy policy to farmers and the wellbeing of the people they feed.

By Joe Orso

La Crosse Tribune; Associated Press, Wisconsin State Journal 0000-00-00

Food/Farm bill:

Bush administration's buy-local request for emergency food aid could help Kenyans, some of the world's poorest people, advocates say, but U.S. is mired in domestic farm subsidies and lobbies of shipping interests; aid for agricultural projects lags as well.

By Celia W. Dugger

The New York times (may require subscription)


New interactive map allows users to tract proliferation of factory farms by state and county - even number of animals - and it raises questions of whether we pursue the logic of industrialism to its limits, and how badly will it harm the landscape, the people who live in it and democracy itself?

The editors

The New York Times (may require subscription)

See also 


Find hemp seed, hemp oil, hemp butter, hemp bread, and hemp bars at the natural foods store, but it's all imported; hemp farming is banned in the U.S. because the plant is a version of the cannabis plant and contains low levels of the active ingredient in marijuana.

By Ann Woolner

Bloomberg News


Current agricultural policies distort food costs, waste billions of taxpayer dollars, and subsidize a handful of large farming operations that raise a few selected crops - and subvert subsistence farmers across the globe by dumping cheap surplus goods at below-market prices.

By Senator Richard Lugar and Representative Ron Kind

The Modesto Bee (CA) 2007-07-15

Food/Farm bill:

It's a $70 billion annual bill, and before, only agribusiness cared, but a tsunami of activists now believes that its subsidies for corn and soy encourage diet-related disease and climate change; instead, they advocate money for sustainable and organic food production, agricultural conservation and for a priority on fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

By Carol Ness

San Francisco Chronicle