Wednesday, February 22, 2017

“Sell By” Dates May Be Expired

The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, two of the most influential groups in the food industry, are advising their members (which include most major food manufacturers and retailers) to abolish their "Expires on" and "Sell by" dates. Those dates often convince over-cautious consumers to throw perfectly good food into the trash.

Instead, the groups are asking companies to use just two labels: "Best if used by" a particular date, which would probably go on most foods, and "Use by" for products that could become less safe as they age. Expiration dates on food are not required by any federal law, although some states require such dates on meat or milk. As a food product passes its "expiration" date, it may get stale, and some products, like milk, may go sour. But most spoiled foods, though unpalatable, aren't particularly hazardous.

Source: NPR, 2/15/17, Sell By Date

A New Toolkit To Help Pediatriticans Diagnose Hunger

Food insecurity is detrimental to children’s health and well-being. Children living in food-insecure households are more likely to get sick and be hospitalized than their peers and suffer developmental delays, behavioral problems, and obesity.

Pediatricians and other practitioners working with children play a vital role in protecting children and their families from food insecurity and its harmful consequences. To help, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food Research & Action Center have jointly released a new resource: Addressing Food Insecurity. The toolkit provides specific information on how to screen patients for food insecurity; make the appropriate interventions, most commonly by referring patients and their families to the federal nutrition programs; and advocate for greater food security and improved overall health of children and their families.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

House Committee Looks At SNAP Purchases

The House Agriculture Committee is delving into one of the most controversial topics surrounding SNAP: whether to limit what the more than 40 million SNAP recipients can buy with their benefits.

Banning SNAP recipients from being able to buy sugary drinks has gotten some traction in certain public health and far-right circles, but it looks like the committee’s hearing will be decidedly open-minded on the debate, according to the Food Research & Action Council, which will testify at the hearing on February 16, along with an expert from the American Enterprise Institute, which supports a ban, and other national experts.

 Source: Politico, 2/16/17, House SNAP Hearing

The Chance of Poverty is Strong For Children in U.S

"Out of all age groups, children are still most likely to live in poverty, according to new research from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Using the latest available data from the American Community Survey, NCCP researchers found that in 2015, while 30 percent of adults have low incomes, more than 40 percent of all children live in low-income families -- including 5.2 million infants and toddlers under 3.

Despite significant gains in household income and reductions in the overall poverty rate in recent years, 43 percent (30.6 million) of America's children are living in families barely able to afford their most basic needs, according to Basic Facts about Low-Income Children, the center's annual series of profiles on child poverty in America."

Source: NewsRoom, 2/9/17, Read More >

Monday, February 20, 2017

Connecticut School Breakfast Participation Jumps

Over 100,000 Connecticut students participated in the national School Breakfast Program (SBP) every day during the 2015-16 school year, and 85% of them did so for free or at a reduced price. Connecticut was among the top-ranked states last year for increasing the percentage of its low-income students participating in the SBP.

Nearly 8,000 more children ate breakfast at school in the 2015-16 school year than the year before. Although that was a 10% rise in participation, only 51% of those eligible for free or reduced-price lunches eat breakfast in school, which places the state among the bottom third of states (33rd).

The rise in student participation came despite the state being near the bottom of states (49th) in terms of the percentage of eligible schools participating in the program.

Source: Food Research & Action Center, 2/14/17, School Breakfast in CT

Check out how Foodshare is working to connect kids with meal programs right here in Greater Hartford, and learn how you can get involved!

Farm Bill Will Soon Be Back On The Table

Food and agriculture policy experts met recently to discuss the 2018 Farm Bill. The discussion was hosted by AGree, a bipartisan food policy organization supported by eight of the largest food and ag-focused foundations.

One key topic of conversation was the future of SNAP which, like other nutrition programs, are funded through the Farm Bill and account for about 75% of its spending ($89 billion in 2016). Republican legislators have, in the past, proposed removing SNAP from the Farm Bill and converting it to a block grant. Several participants at the AGree event seemed confident that the SNAP program wouldn’t experience major cuts, let alone block-granting. But Eric Mitchell, from the anti-hunger advocacy organization Bread for the World, was more skeptical. He expressed concern that the Republican Congress might still pursue block-granting SNAP, even against the wishes of agriculture groups, and noted that several powerful Republicans have supported a move to block grants, including House Agriculture Committee chair Mike Conaway and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Source: Civil Eats, 2/8/17, Farm Bill

Poverty Outlaws?

"America’s desire to prosecute homelessness, and even the act of begging, has led to policy measures implemented across the country that are aimed at attacking our most vulnerable citizens instead of helping them. This includes state restrictions on the use of public property, stern enforcement of permit requirements, and the outright banning of homeless encampments."

The National Coalition of the Homelessness published a report entitled, Share No More which revealed that there are thirty-one cities throughout the U.S that have restricted or eliminated the act of sharing food with those in need, along with cuts to social security, Medicare, and many other welfare services used by the underprivileged.

Source: SPIN, 2/06/17, Read More >