FOOD POLICY – Overview
Health, Hunger and Environment Coordinator
HELADA members include vegans and
beefeaters (or paidaki eaters), GMO busters and feed-the-worldniks,
organic home gardeners and vitamin pill poppers. Obviously, we won't agree
100% on food matters – after all, it is a matter of taste.
As environmental interest has risen, so
have the buckets of information piled onto people about what kind of food
is good for them and the best methods of producing it, as well as the
broader issue of food democracy. As we try to stay informed, we realize
that much of the information is questionable, overstated, or irrelevant.
It takes a lot of reading to sort out the solid information from the less
HELADA’s Greek locus means most of us
enjoy the healthy Mediterranean diet: fresh or simply cooked; varied and
balanced with lots of cereals, fruits and vegetables; a modicum of
proteins, usually as nuts, beans, dairy products and fish; and less
reliance on meat, especially red meat. The availability of olive oil
provides monounsaturated fats rather than saturated, while honey often
replaces refined sugar. Traditional farmers’ markets mean a meal can be
made here within two hours of its source.
Even here, though, industrial farming
techniques and supermarkets have meant an increase in processed, prepared
and preserved foods – and questions about nutritional quality – while
people in developing countries may have limited access to good food or
face outright starvation. We suspect that the healthiest, most useful
approach is organic production and local distribution, with long-range
supplementation available in times of local crisis. We’re watching this
Overall, we suscribe to the ‘Obama Principle’ that free enterprise and marketplace competition achieves economic health and efficiency, but that government oversight and, when needed, government intervention are essential. Intervention means legislating, taxing and/or subsidizing. Where a policy affects more than one country, we support cooperation with international bodies. Legislation should address standards of food safety and nutrition, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the introduction of GMO crops, and the subsidies that can stunt or promote certain market sectors. Regulations, we believe, must be based on solid scientific and economic information, and must ensure safe, healthy, affordable food for all.
views in more detail:
websites will open in a new tab)
for Science in the Public Interest [www.cspinet.org
and Water Watch Organization [www.foodandwaterwatch.org]
institutes of food/health/science ????
Food and Drug Administration [www.fda.gov
National Institute of Health [www.nih.gov]
National Science Foundation [www.nsf.gov]