Two of the biggest names in the world of healthful eating team up today for a Washington Post op-ed calling for a "national food policy." Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, along with two other experts, say that our current food-production system has caused so much damage to our health, our land, our air, and our water that if a foreign power were responsible, we'd probably consider it an act of war. Among the principles of their proposed policy: a guarantee of "access to healthful food" for all Americans, a food supply free of toxic bacteria and chemicals, marketing that encourages kids to eat "real food," compassionate treatment of animals, and farm polices that support public health, the environment, and all of the above.
As an example of the current "incoherence" in federal policy, they cite "the spectacle of Michelle Obama warning Americans to avoid high-fructose corn syrup at the same time the president is signing farm bills that subsidize its production." So where to start? In the next State of the Union Address, they'd like President Obama to announce an executive order creating the new national policy. He could lay out some of the principles, which the authors say dovetail with issues including health care, climate change, immigration, and income inequality. Logistics, such as the establishment of a new council to coordinate things, can follow. The bottom line, they write, is that Americans deserve a food system that "encourages health rather than undermines it." Click for the full column.