Posts Tagged ‘lobbying’

New Plant Foods Coalition Enters Dietary Guidelines Debate

Logos_Plant_Foods_Coalition_DGA_LetterEvery sector of the food industry–most of them unhealthy–has something to say about how Americans should eat. But we rarely hear the voices of healthier food companies in shaping the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I organized this new coalition of plant food companies to help fill that void.

Research shows that more consumers are decreasing their meat consumption and turning to plant-based options. Therefore, it’s time for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (revised every five years) to encourage this trend toward healthy eating. Today, this new food industry coalition submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, in response to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report, making these main points:

  • We agree with the advisory committee that additional measures are needed to encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.
  • We support the advisory committee’s conclusion that the dietary guidelines should include a recommendation to “lower red and processed meats.”
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans should specifically recommend eating plant protein sources such as legumes, soy foods, wheat gluten, seeds, and nuts, in place of red and processed meats. 
  • Claims that red meat and processed meats are “nutrient dense” are misleading because they ignore all the harmful components of meat, and the fact that plants are often nutritionally superior.
  • We endorse the advisory committee’s recognition of sustainability as an essential component of federal dietary guidance, and that a shift away from animal foods towards a plant-based diet “is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact.”

You can read the entire letter (or the summary) and learn more about the coalition members at: www.LessMeatMorePlants.com. You can also submit your own comments before the May 8 deadline here.

School Food Lobby Flip-flops on Healthy School Lunches

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

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

Read rest at Al Jazeera America …

Follow the Honey: 7 Ways Pesticide Companies are Spinning the Bee Crisis to Protect Profits

FollowTheHoneyReportCover

Today I am releasing a new report with Friends of the Earth, to bring attention to the dire situation of declining bee populations caused by pesticides. You can find the report here, and read a summary below.

If you like to eat, then you should care about what’s happening to bees. Did you know that two-thirds of our food crops require pollination – the very foods that we rely on for healthy eating – such as apples, berries, and almonds, just to name a few. That’s why the serious declines in bee populations are getting more attention, with entire campaigns devoted to saving bees.

A strong and growing body of evidence points to exposure to a class of neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids—the fastest-growing and most widely used class of synthetic pesticides—as a key contrib­uting factor to bee declines.

The European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids, based on strong science indicating that neonics can kill bees outright and make them more vulnerable to pests, pathogens, and other stressors. Enter the corporate spin doctors.

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How Restaurant Lobby Blocks Living Wage for Fast Food Workers

If you ask most Americans about the NRA, they will think of the National Rifle Association. But another powerful industry trade group bearing those initials, the National Restaurant Association, conducts its own campaign of duplicitous lobbying and outright deception at the expense of the public interest. Read rest at Al Jazeera America ….

 

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

FDA logo

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

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Are Junk Food Corporations Hiding Behind Lobbyists to Stop GE Food Labeling in Washington State?

Yes on 522

Nation’s largest food makers’ trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is donating big money to oppose I-522, but on whose behalf?

Even if you haven’t heard of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, you know its members: the nation’s largest food makers, those with the most at stake in the battle over GE food labeling, including soft drink and snack giant PepsiCo, cereal makers Kellogg and General Mills, and of course, biotech behemoth Monsanto.

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Is Outrage Over the Monsanto Protection Act a Turning Point for the Food Movement?

In March, when I first wrote about how the biotech rider—called the Monsanto Protection Act by its vocal opponents—undercut the constitutional concept of separation of powers, it seemed hardly anyone (other than the usual advocacy groups) was paying attention. But then a lot of people got mad, really mad.

Within a few short weeks the issue exploded in the mainstream media, with the surest sign the issue had hit the big time being (what else?) coverage by The Daily Show (hilariously entitled, “You Stuck What Where?”). Another indication was outrage even from a Tea Party blogger.

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Best Public Relations Money Can Buy – A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups

Last month, the International Food Information Council Foundation released the third edition of its report: Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding. What sounds like a reasonable and helpful document is in fact the product of a well-oiled PR machine whose board of trustees includes executives from such food giants such as Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Mars. In response to such tactics, I have authored a new report for Center for Food Safety that exposes the well-funded organizations and highly-sophisticated public relations strategies increasingly deployed to defend the food industry. Read rest at Center for Food Safety…

 

How the Other NRA is Making Us Sick

 

This week, food labor advocate Saru Jayaraman is releasing her new book, Behind the Kitchen Door, which relates  heartbreaking stories of just some of the 10 million restaurant workers in the U.S. In a chapter called, Serving While Sick, she tells the disturbing tale of a fast-food worker who had no choice but to come to work with a bad cold since she couldn’t afford to go unpaid. When this worker tried to explain to her manager how perhaps handling food while coughing and sneezing was not such a good idea, she was laughed at. She later wondered how many customers she got sick that day because she couldn’t leave the counter every time she needed to wipe her nose.

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The Other NRA: National Restaurant Association

This week, Saru Jayaraman, an amazing advocate for food workers as co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and now director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley is releasing her new book, Behind the Kitchen Door.

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