This week in food policy news:
- Cuts to SNAP (aka food stamps) took effect last week, on November 1st, after a 2009 temporary funding boost expired. While the amount of cuts per family varies depending on family size, SNAP beneficiaries will receive between $11-36 less per month to spend on food purchases. The most recent versions of the Farm Bill are expected to make further cuts to SNAP. [New York Times]
- The FDA proposed a new rule that would no longer consider trans-fat (found in partially hydrogenated oils) to be “generally recognized as safe” due to the overwhelming amount of evidence that consuming trans fat is dangerous to one’s health. In effect, this would “all but eliminate” trans fat where it still exists – that is, mostly in processed and packaged foods. Although many food manufacturers have reduced their use of trans fat in recent years, it is a significant contributor to heart disease in the United States. [New York Times]
- San Francisco is considering a tax of 2 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages. Despite recent defeats of similar tax measures in two other California cities – including nearby Richmond – if anywhere can get a soda tax passed, it’s San Francisco. The funds raised from the tax would generate an estimated $31 million and would be earmarked for health and nutrition programs for kids. A recent poll of California residents indicated that support for a similar tax increased substantially when the revenues were specifically going towards school nutrition and physical activity programs. [SF Gate]
- Massachusetts General Hospital and the Appalachian Mountain Club are teaming up to offer a program called Outdoors Rx, where overweight children receive a prescription for outdoors time and can sign up for classes through the Outdoors Rx website. The program sounds similar to Wholesome Wave’s Fruit & Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program, but with a focus on physical activity instead of healthy eating. I like the idea, although it’s hard to be active outdoors in Boston during all seasons. [CommonHealth]
It’s been awhile since I last posted!