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 so.

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 one.

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.

HELADA views in more detail:

Healthy Eating

Food Democracy

Pesticides, Chemicals and Drugs

Water for All

Government at the Table

 More information (These websites will open in a new tab)

Center for Science in the Public Interest [www.cspinet.org ]

Food and Water Watch Organization [www.foodandwaterwatch.org]

EU institutes of food/health/science ????

USA Food and Drug Administration [www.fda.gov ]

USA National Institute of Health [www.nih.gov]

USA National Science Foundation [www.nsf.gov]

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FOCAL POINTS

Environment
Immigration