February Monthly Mouthful

With obesity problems and peanut butter recalls, there is always room for improvement when it comes to food policy. Now that Americas has passed the torch on to a new President, it’s time us food bloggers pushed the issues we want addressed in the White House.

So whether you’re from the United States or not, this month we wanted to know: “What food policy changes would you make? Be it better health regulations or more locally grown foods, what issues would you push?”

Read on to see some of our favorite food bloggers sound off after the jump!

Lydia from The Perfect Pantry:

One of the ways our new administration can be the change we need to have in the world is to do everything possible to make it easy, affordable and sustainable for schools to connect with local producers, to bring fresh, locally-grown foods into the school food-service environment. You cannot improve education without also addressing nutrition issues; it’s been proven conclusively that children learn better when they have had healthy meals to start their day. That’s where I would start, and where I hope President Obama will start, as it is consistent with his stated goal to make education a priority.

Kristen from Food Renegade:

Without hesitation, I would love to see sustainable agricultural practices become more mainstream. My hero in this regard is Joel Salatin — the self-described “Christian libertarian environmentalist lunatic farmer.” He’s actually managed to create a farm that not only converts acres of grassland into thousands of pounds of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs each year, but his grassland management techniques actually add inches of topsoil to the earth. Rather than consuming natural resources to produce food, his farm creates more natural resources for food production. That’s the kind of food future we need!

Joan from Foodalogue:

I think the top priority should be ‘safety’. There are too many incidences of illness and deaths from the food we eat. The USDA needs to be funded, staffed and monitored to implement better controls of what is sold in our markets and put on our plates. After that, or simultaneously I would of course like to see the issue of obesity eradicated.

Melissa from Alosha’s Kitchen:

If it were possible, I would actually do away with HFCS.

But since that’s probably asking too much, I would only hope for truly healthy foods to be served in schools, with a ban on soda and vending machines, as some schools have already done. It may seem extreme, but the state of American children’s health these days is frightening. I would focus on that for sure.

Jessie from Cakespy:

As much as I love sweet things, I would love to see less corn syrup in foods. I guess this would fall into better health regulations–I just think that having corn syrup in everything from soup to nuts as it were is probably not good for the nation’s health or waistline. I’d also love to see an emphasis on locally grown foods–this seems like a no-brainer, win-win thing to promote, to me!

Anne-Marie from This Mama Cooks:

My biggest concern is food safety. I heard an idea the other day that made some sense to me – break up the FDA into two branches, one for food safety and one for drug safety. Maybe that would work if it would free up more people and resources to make sure our food supply was safe.

Ruth from Once Upon A Feast:

I really think it’s critical that children are well fed. We see the faces of starving children on tv and they are always from far away. The reality is that here in North America, many children don’t have enough to eat and more important, not enough really healthful foods to choose from. I would really love to see that turned around through school breakfast and lunch programs and educational programs for parents on healthy, inexpensive, easy to prepare meals for their families.

Nicole from For the Love of Food:

Although I always advocate healthy, local, homemade foods as the best and most tasteful, I would never regulate food or tell people how to eat. I may invest in better marketing, literature, and programs to promote my agenda to show people that it is the better alternative. But, If you want to eat trans fats, eat them. It is your body and I don’t think anyone should tell us what is and is not allowed to go in it.

Tammy from Food on the Food:

I’d like to see the commodity crop subsidies changed dramatically so that more farmers have incentives to grow something other than corn and soybeans. We don’t need any more of that stuff. What we need are fruits and vegetables. Maybe feedlots could be required to process their waste in an environmentally sound manner? Or maybe no feedlots at all? Fields. Also, it would be nice if there were some sort of job retraining program so that unemployed people, of which there will soon be many, who were interested in agriculture could get the appropriate training. There’s such a big demand for locally grown food and not nearly enough people with the know-how to fill it.

Luanna from Ode to Everything Food:

Everywhere you read these days, it’s about how unhealthy and overweight the US is. The White House, the entire administration and the Obama family have a unique opportunity to turn this around and put everyone on a diet . . . and a healthy one at that.

Here are a just of few of my suggestions:
• Start an organic garden at the White House and use it to feed the First Family and White House staff. Any leftovers can be donated to local food banks.
• Have the White House Chef (or staff) start a food blog of healthy recipes using those organic fruits and vegetables and share it with the rest of the nation.
Put the nation on a diet. Start a new website where everyone is given their own account name and password. Share the healthy recipes, exercise routines, healthy living practices while maintaining a busy work and family life, etc. Everyone can share their stories through a blog and share their weight loss. At the end of the year, I bet we’d be amazed at how well the US has done.

As always, thanks to everyone who participated! If you were not contacted for this month’s Monthly Mouthful and would like to be included in future Monthly Mouthfuls, please e-mail us at chewonthatblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Add your own food policy issues in the comments below!

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  • http://www.thegooseberryfool.com Caitlin

    This one won’t be popular with farmers but the US should end subsidies to its corn growers if it wants to tackle the public health problem of obesity. An over-supply of corn simply leads to an over-supply of high fructose corn syrup making its way into the food chain in the form of cheap processed food.

    Having read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, I think something really needs to be done about the shameful state of the meat industry. Raising cattle in foodlots is is cruel to the animals and leads to a lot of food safety problems for consumers.

  • http://thefoodsite.net The Food Site

    I feel food safety in terms of more organic food and less chemical-and-insecticide-laden food should be the top priority.

  • http://savory.tv Heidi / Savory Tv

    Mandatory healthy school lunches would help with the obesity problem, however I think a lack of exercise is the bigger issue here. Many schools in Colorado require gym class each and every year, and in several ski towns, each friday is gym class, and the kids ski all day. So I would push for aggressive gym programs, including outdoor activity.

    Perhaps a “fast food” tax also would be a good idea, it would make people think twice before hitting the drive through.

  • http://Realfoodlover.wordpress.com Elisabeth

    I’m from the UK. I like the idea of a organic vegetable smallholding at the White House! Now there’s a petition you can sign http://www.thewhofarm.org/

    Reward farmers who don’t use gas-guzzling fertiliser (the manufacture of nitrogen fertiliser is agriculture’s biggest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions) and who use on-farm compost and rotations instead.

    Reward the farmers using natural biological systems to protect crops and animals from disease (not pesticides or antibiotics).

    Then organise a happy ‘carrot mob’ for independent natural food stores and farmers’ markets, the mainstay of the real food system. Instead of a boycott – let’s have a procott! See http://www.carrotmob.org

  • http://Realfoodlover.wordpress.com Elisabeth

    Oh dear. I meant ‘an’ organic vegetable smallholding not ‘a’ one. Thanks!

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