Chef Tom Colicchio and Food Policy Action release the National Food Policy Scorecard, holding legislators accountable November 17, 2015 By Claire Benjamin DiMattina, Food Policy Action Executive Director, and Karen Spangler, Food Policy Action Policy and Operations Manager Before the food we eat hits our kitchen tables, or our grocery stores, it is impacted by…
Chef Tom Colicchio and Food Policy Action release the National Food Policy Scorecard, holding legislators accountable
November 17, 2015
By Claire Benjamin DiMattina, Food Policy Action Executive Director, and Karen Spangler, Food Policy Action Policy and Operations Manager
Before the food we eat hits our kitchen tables, or our grocery stores, it is impacted by policy. Federal policies help determine what crops are grown, what methods farmers use, how animals are treated, and ultimately, whether healthy, affordable food will be available to all Americans.
Our food system is out of balance. The quality and affordability of food is too often determined by your zip code. Half of all adults in the U.S. – 117 million people –suffer from one or more chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or even cancer. The medical costs of diabetes alone reached $176 billion in 2012. Today’s children are expected to live shorter lives than their parents, thanks to the spike in rates of these diet-related diseases. Given that we know these diseases are greatly reduced by a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, the quality and affordability of these kinds of foods is a matter of national health and security.
Food Policy Action and Food Policy Action Education Fund along with partners recently released nationwide, bipartisan research which takes a closer look at how American’s view our our food system. What we found was staggering. Overwhelmingly, voters do not believe that our current food system is meeting the country’s needs. Stronger food policies are needed
to ensure that all Americans have equal access to healthy, affordable food, regardless of where they live. 53 percent of likely voters agreed that too many Americans can’t afford healthy food in their communities, and better food policy is needed to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food.
The current food system didn’t get here by accident—it was put in place by policy decisions, subsidies, and incentives over the last forty years. Despite the increased demand for healthier alternatives, consumers still have trouble finding healthy food at an affordable price, and family farmers struggle to make ends meet. It’s time to ask why, and demand better from our elected officials.
Americans are hungry for better food choices, and it’s up to us to hold Congress accountable. Today, Food Policy Action released the NATIONAL FOOD POLICY Scorecard: 2015 Progress Report, grading Congress on their action, and inaction, on major food policy reforms. In 2015, Congress had the opportunity to use their vote for good food policy, and cosponsor bills that put forth positive solutions for our food system. All too often, the majority of our elected officials fell short.
The truth is, if you eat, these policies affect you. The good news is that consumers and the marketplace are way ahead of Washington, but your elected leaders need to hear from you. We hope you will use this year’s scorecard as a tool to start a conversation with your member of Congress or Senator. Tell them that these issues matter to you, that you are paying close attention, and that you are ready for bold action to fix our food system.
Food Policy Action’s 2015 Scorecard Grades Legislators and Educates the Public Washington, D.C., November 17, 2015 — While its overall grades on food and farming policy have modestly improved over previous years, Congress has largely fallen short, noted the national nonprofit group Food Policy Action in the release of its 2015 congressional Progress Report. While…
Food Policy Action’s 2015 Scorecard Grades Legislators and Educates the Public
Washington, D.C., November 17, 2015 — While its overall grades on food and farming policy have modestly improved over previous years, Congress has largely fallen short, noted the national nonprofit group Food Policy Action in the release of its 2015 congressional Progress Report.
While the average scores have increased by four points, the 2015 report illustrates a Congress that has so far failed to act on major food policy reforms, including reauthorizing childhood nutrition programs and addressing the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture, among other disappointments.
The Senate was graded on five votes and 10 bills, and the House on 10 votes and support of 12 bills. This year, 116 Members of Congress – 87 in the House of Representatives and 29 in the Senate – received perfect scores of 100 percent, while four Members received less than 10 percent. Compared to last year’s grades, 126 House and nine Senate scores decreased while 213 members of the House and 78 in the Senate saw their grades improve.
The average score for new members of the House of Representatives was 42 percent, ten points lower than the full House average. The marks for the newest members of the Senate were over 20 percent lower than the full Senate, with the average score of 45 percent.
Other legislation scored by FPA included the House-adopted bill known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK Act, that would block states from adopting laws requiring the labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs. The measure, which passed by a vote of 275;150, would also make it virtually impossible for the federal government to adopt a nationwide labeling law, which is something nearly 90 percent of Americans want.
Additionally, both the House and Senate voted on major trade legislation that could have significant implications for the safety of imported foods.
Read the complete 2015 National Food Policy Progress Report here: http://www.foodpolicyaction.org/scorecard
“The National Food Policy Scorecard continues to shine a light on what Congress is doing and far too often, not doing to improve the nation’s food system.” said Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action Co-Founder and Chef. “Unfortunately, to date this Congress has failed to bring bills forward that would work to fix our broken food system, and ensure that all Americans have equal access to healthy, affordable food.”
While Congress has failed to bring to the floor many common sense food policy reforms, average scores did modestly increase because bills like the Older Americans Act and the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act were passed with unanimous bi-partisan support in both chambers.
“Despite a few bright spots, Congress has serious work ahead next year.” said Ken Cook, Food Policy Action co-founder and board chairman. “Just like report cards in grade school, this year’s progress report should act as a wake up call to many members that they need to get their act together when it comes to their positions on food and farm policy.”
Founded in 2012, Food Policy Action is the first national organization to publish an annual scorecard that grades lawmakers on Congressional food policy votes. An advisory council of food policy experts picks which votes are relevant and should be scored. The Food Policy Action Board of Directors approves those choices.
National Food Policy Scorecard: 2015 Progress Report: http://www.foodpolicyaction.org/scorecard
WHAT: Chef and food activist Tom Colicchio announces the Food Policy Action annual National Food Policy Progress Report findings, with support from Wellness in the Schools. Colicchio and Cook will announce the scorecard results while Telepan and students prepare and sample a seasonal recipe from the WITS nutrition lab. WHO: Tom Colicchio: co-founder of Food…
WHEN: Tuesday/November 17 from 10:30am – 11:30am. Colicchio, Cook and Telepan will be available for interviews from 11:30am-12pm, and there will be a Q&A during the event.
WHERE: Campos Community Garden, 640-644 East 12th Street (between Avenue B & C)
WHY: The National Food Policy Progress Report for the 114th Congress reflects how legislators have voted on food-related policies in 2015, including child nutrition, fisheries, water quality and food labeling. Announcing the scorecard release in New York City for the first time allows FPA to partner with NYC-based organization WITS to highlight the importance of federal policies that support nutritious and accessible school meal programs.
CONTACT: BeccaPR, Meghan Sherrill, 212.633.2129, firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.