10 Federal Food-Policy Issues Obama and Romney Should Discuss

Here are 10 important federal food-policy issues the presidential candidates should be discussing but have ignored until now.

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End the FDA’s foolish and destructive quarter-century crusade against raw milk farmers and sellers. As I wrote last year in a Washington Times op-ed, “Where a warning will suffice, a ban is inappropriate.”

2. Government Misinformation

The federal government should immediately stop using taxpayer dollars to award grant money to cities and states that these governments in turn use to launch attacks on food producers and sellers. New York City’s deceitful anti-soda ads, exposed by The New York Times earlier this year, are perhaps the best example of this practice.

3. USDA Reform

End all USDA farm subsidies—including federally subsidized crop insurance—right now. End programs promoting commodity crops. End marketing orders. Slash the agency’s bloated $150-billion budget in half. Then devote a higher percentage (currently less than 5 percent of the agency’s budget) to food safety. Instead of writing one-size-fits-all rules for school lunches, get out of the school lunch game entirely.

4. Food Marketing

Stop cracking down on food marketing. No logo or advertisement has ever made any person of any age obese. Last year the FTC, FDA, USDA, and CDC came up with an unconstitutional joint scheme that would have limited the rights of food producers to advertise their products, lest a child see food ads and nag his or her parents. Thankfully the agencies backed down in the face of pressure.

5. The Commerce Clause & The Tenth Amemdment

Return sovereignty over intrastate food safety (including animal slaughter) to the states. While both the FDA and USDA have power under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce, neither has such authority to regulate intrastate commerce. Under the Tenth Amendment, that responsibility rests with the states.

6. Food Labeling

Open up all food labels to any and all statements that aren't demonstrably false. That would include allowing statements such as “No GMOs” on any GMO-free product. Additionally, abolish the USDA’s archaic label pre-approval requirement (a requirement the FDA—which regulates four times as much food as does the USDA—does not have).

7. Alcohol

Keep working to prevent children from drinking alcohol while at the same time halting policies that treat adults like children. Lift the ban on caffeinated beers like Four Loko. Lift the ban on home distillation of spirits. And, as above, end the needless preapproval process for beer, wine, and spirits.

8. Organic Food

Organic food once meant something to those who ate it. Today it means something much less, thanks to politicized USDA regulations pertaining to organic-food labeling. The solution? Get the USDA out of the organic business entirely.

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  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    How about defining "Organic" according to the original scientific meaning; "An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon"

    Wouldn't THAT set the cat among the pigeons?

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    I've been trying to reclaim that one for... has it been decades already?

  • ||

    Yes, because being pedantic always wins arguments.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Is it pedantic to insist on pointing out that the term 'Organic' as applied to food has no real meaning, and is based entirely on 'feel-good' environmentalist bushwa that changes from day to day (if not hour to hour)? So be it, I am a pedant.

  • ||

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I love wikipedia. I use it daily to satisfy my curiosity about all kinds of things. But it isn't worth a bucket of warm spit as anything more than a casual look-up. Like the definitions of 'organic food' and 'alternative energy' it is subject to the winds of popular opinion.

    'Organic Farming' is a first-world fad, based on fashionable worries and the persistent notion of some western intellectuals that making money is evil. The notion that it is better for the environment depends on highly subjective definitions of 'better' and 'environment'. The notion that it produces healthier food is largely mythological. It is a way for food snobs to maintain their (largely imaginary) status in this day and age when even rednecks talk about balsamic vinegar and drink micro-brews.

  • ||

    Regardless, this statement:

    the term 'Organic' as applied to food has no real meaning, and is based entirely on 'feel-good' environmentalist bushwa that changes from day to day (if not hour to hour)

    Is clearly false. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's meaningless.

  • John||

    Then what is the meaning? I don't dislike organic food. I just can't figure out what it is. It seems to mean whatever the producer decides it to me, which if fine. But it seems like a pretty meaningless phrase to me more marketing than reality.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's meaningless.

    Then what is the meaning?

    Mostly it means it's more expensive.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Mostly it means it's more expensive.

    It means the hippie farmers were too cheap to buy basic pesticides and fertilizers and had to compensate for their lower production, so they created a cheesy marketing scam.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    It means the hippie farmers were too cheap to buy basic pesticides and fertilizers and had to compensate for their lower production, so they created a cheesy marketing scam.

    I was given to understand "organic" farming, as a term and a subcultural movement, goes back at least to a 1940 book titled Look to the Land. Basically it's Luddite philosophy applied to farming.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Hippies, Luddites....what's the difference? The outcome is the same. Failure to keep up with innovation will result in lower production. The only way to compensate is to force anti-competitive measures into the markets, and/or create fallacious appeals to ignorance.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Hippies, Luddites....what's the difference? The outcome is the same

    True, technologically speaking, hippies are Luddites. I didn't intend the comment as disagreement as much as looking at it from a different angle.

  • db||

    The meaning consists entirely of food and food producers that have been blessed by a holy order, having passed whatever mystical test said order contrives to designate the worthiness of said food. And licensing and inspection fees tithes to the order.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    If it's 'meaning' is subject to change according to the whim of a bunch of nitwits, it has no meaning. Period.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    In fact, let me elaborate; I have watched as the various food corporations have tried to move into the 'Organic" market. And I have noticed that the debate on what constitutes 'organic' tends to be driven, at least in part by a 'if Kraft can make ketchup that meets the old definition, the definition needs to change' sentiment.

    That is why I say that the term 'organic food' has no meaning. Because it has been made plain to me that the definition will continue to change in order to exclude 'evil' corporations, instead of reaching some kind of dependably stable objective standard.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    That is why I say that the term 'organic food' has no meaning. Because it has been made plain to me that the definition will continue to change in order to exclude 'evil' corporations, instead of reaching some kind of dependably stable objective standard.

    Thus my classification of "organic food" as expensive Luddite snobbery.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    It means "Keep the spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees," apparently.

  • John||

    I like the name of that group though. Keep food legal is a great name.

  • Virginian||

    From the article:

    One Obama shortcoming Laskawy points to is that the president “loves... the regulatory power of the state too little.”

    Weapons grade stupid right there.

  • John||

    Or weapons grade scary. If this guy thinks Obama doesn't like regulations, just what regulations does he want?

  • Rick Santorum||

    Why doesn't the government grow and distribute the food?

  • Drave Robber||

    Some governments have tried that. Didn't end well for them.

  • Mensan||

    It's the same kind of stupid that whines about Bush the Deregulator

  • laser pointer||

    Obama will win the election !

  • SIV||

    The one "good" thing Obama did was to sign the repeal of the horse slaughter ban. Still no cheval at my local Publix though :(

  • John||

    Horses are noble beasts. Eating a horse is like eating a dog, just wrong.

  • SIV||

    I believe the Cantonese say anything with 4 legs is good to eat except for the table.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Horseshit. Horses are no more noble than any other beast. If we rode cows instead of horses, we'd be waxing lyrical about the noble qualities of good old Bessie.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Pigs are smarter than either horses or dogs and we most definitely love to eat bacon!

  • Rich||

    11. Many ads contain the printed disclaimer "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease" even as the ad makes it clear the product *is* intended to treat, cure or prevent disease. Mr. President, Governor -- WTF?

  • FD||

    Well, I got what I deserved. Although I hesitated, I went to the HufPo Streisand link, just to be a thorough little reader of this essay. Now I ruined my Saturday morning coffee experience. Belch.
    Leftists truly are a self-delusional lot, what with their hair-pulling threats of "returning to Bush policies." They should love Bush. From war, to civil liberties smack downs, to government expansion, Obama apparently loved "the way we were." He is W, and Romney would have done the same if he became pres.
    I say, "would have" because according to the same HufPo page, the electoral map indicates that this election is over. I figured it was an empty suit squeaker win, but not an impending blowout. Would have been fascinating stuff if Romney won by Gallup's seven percent but still lost the electoral vote by the same margin.

  • John||

    The intense hatred of Bush I really think is a form of self hatred by leftists. Think about it, Bush was a hugely bi-partisan President. Every big thing Bush ever did, both wars, the Patriot Act, NCLB, TARP, SARBOX, Medicare Part D all had significant or near unanimous Democratic support. Democrats supported and voted for all of those policies in Congress and continued them after they took power in 2008. I can't think of a single Bush policy that Obama repealed upon entering office.

    There is plenty of reasons for Conservatives and Libertarians to hate Bush. But really when you think about it, Bush should be liberals favorite President. But then so should have Nixon, the guy who gave us price controls, OSHA and the EPA. And they hated him too.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The Left hated Nixon because he had the gall to point out that Helen Gahagan Douglas was an unrepentant old Stalinist, and win that election.

    Similarly, the Left hate Bush because he had the gall to object to Gore trying fairly openly top steal the election from him in 2000.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Is it pedantic to insist on pointing out that the term 'Organic' as applied to food has no real meaning, and is based entirely on 'feel-good' environmentalist bushwa that changes from day to day (if not hour to hour)?

    My definition of "organic" is "picked by people who don't wear shoes".

  • ||

    The only organic food I eat is that grown and picked by child labor and then processes and packaged in sweatshops.

  • ||

    processeD

  • Big 'Orra||

    Bush should be liberals favorite President.

    Just wait a few years and Bush will get the same "Why can't more Republicans be more moderate like Bush; These new batch of Republicans are just SOOOO extreme!" treatment.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If the TSA staged a work slowdown, how would you know?

    Eight employees were fired in June in the investigation. The latest action raises to 52 the number of TSA employees at Newark caught up in the investigation, making it the biggest single disciplinary action taken by the TSA at a U.S. airport.

    An official of a union that represents some of the Newark employees said Friday it’s likely the union will seek to have the employees reinstated. The union has seven days to answer the TSA’s proposal.

    “The charges right now seem to be improper screening of bags, which we don’t feel is correct,” said Stacy Dodtmann, regional vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “We feel they performed their jobs to what they were trained to do.”

  • PapayaSF||

    This article seems to say that producers cannot label their food "GMO free." Is that true? We have Proposition 37 coming up for a vote in California, which would force the labeling of all foods containing any GMOs. Of course all the usual suspects support it (including the trial lawyers), and the opposition is funded by the evil corporations like Monsanto, so it'll probably pass....

  • Jordan||

    11. Stop promoting high-carb, low-fat fraudulent bullshit.

  • tagtann||

    Sometimes you jsut have to put the right cheek forward and move along with it.

    www.Over-Anon.tk

  • Support Obama888||

    Well, I got what I deserved. Although I hesitated, I went to the HufPo Streisand link, just to be a thorough little reader of this essay. Now I ruined my Saturday morning coffee experience. Belch.
    Leftists truly are a self-delusional lot, what with their hair-pulling threats of "returning to Bush policies." They should love Bush. From war, to civil liberties smack downs, to government expansion, Obama apparently loved "the way we were." He is W,coach outlet and Romney would have done the same if he became pres.
    I say, "would have" because according to the same HufPo page, the electoral map indicates that this election is over. I figured it was an empty suit squeaker win, but not an impending blowout. Would have been fascinating stuff if Romney won by Gallup's seven percent but still lost the electoral vote by the same margin.

  • Chris8726||

    I am a die hard conservative for 20 years....a guy comes to me at work
    and says he read some weird stuff on the official Mormon site scriptures.
    Says Mormon religion was started by some guy name Joe Smith
    in Vermont in 1831 after an angel told him to dig up some buried gold
    plates... and that they dont belive in the virgin Mary. Please tell me this aint true.
    If it is... I ain't voting for Romney or Obama

    Anybody else seen this video about the Mormon religion http://youtu.be/3HSlbuli7HM
    If this is what Romney believe I am not voting for him or Obama!

    Thanks

  • Bill Dalasio||

    You know, I really enjoyed South Side.

  • شات عراقنا||

    thanks

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