Making History Monday: February 6, 2012

This week, The American Table is launching a new weekly series, Making History Mondays, which reviews recent food policy trends that are shaping the future of food in the United States. 

  • Mark Bittman takes a look at the Obama Administration’s recent approval of  new USDA regulations for the federal school lunch program. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is the first update to the school lunch program in over 15 years. While lobbyists for the potato industry reversed the original guideline’s recommendations on the amount of starchy foods in school lunches, the new regulations will increase the amount of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, set limits on trans-fat and salt, and require that all milk served be reduced fat. [Source: New York Times]
  • Federal legislators are reviewing the Department of Labor’s recently proposed revisions to child farm labor regulations. These revised regulations focus on children working on farms owned by their parents. Advocates of the revisions applaud new efforts to protect children from using potentially dangerous agricultural machinery. Opponents, including the nation-wide organization Future Farmers of America, are concerned it would limit the opportunities for young people to fully experience farm life.  [Source: AgriPulse]
  • Food policy expert Marion Nestle marks the second anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity. [Source: Food Politics]
  • As the Food and Drug Administration reviews a proposal to commercialize salmon that has been genetically engineered to mature faster, the California General Assembly has rejected a proposed bill that would have required genetically-modified foods to be labeled. [Source: Huffington Post]
  • The USDA updated it’s Agricultural Productivity in the United States report on Friday, reflecting data gathered from 1948 to 2009. According to new data, the USDA is reporting that while agricultural productivity slumped between 2000 and 2007, it has experienced a significant bump from 2007 to 2009. [Source: USDA]
  • The Iowa Senate is reviewing legislation that would criminalize the reporting of abusive conditions at animal or crop operations. Not surprisingly, supporters include agriculture giants Monsanto and Dupont. The bill passed the Iowa House of Representatives in 2011. [Source: PAN North America]
  • As food policy experts advocate the regulation of sugar in food in an effort to stave preventable illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, NPR reports that sales of zero-calorie sugar substitute Stevia are soaring thanks, in part, to the repeal of international regulations against sugar substitutes. [Source: New York Times, NPR]