Blog: Policy

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Americans eat a lot of seafood. We rank third in global seafood consumption, behind China and Japan, and we spend billions of dollars every year on seafood. But for most Americans, the knowledge of what we’re eating ends with what’s printed on our menu. Most people have little idea about the complex route their fish has taken from the boat to their plate. Oceana recently released a report comparing the traceability systems in the beef and produce industries in the United States to the seafood industry. So how did they stack up?

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Among its many firsts, Bon Appétit Management Company was the first food service company to address the issue of antibiotic overuse in the meat supply. We don’t serve chicken, turkey, or hamburgers from animals that have been raised with the routine use of antibiotics in their feed or water, which is the default for most of the poultry, hog, and beef industries. CEO Fedele Bauccio, who served on the Pew Commission for Industrial Farm Animal Production, has several times briefed Congress and Capitol Hill staffers on why it’s urgent that the government safeguard these drugs that were developed to treat human illness. Yesterday, the Food and Environment Reporting Network‘s Maryn McKenna broke the story on  ABC News that more than 8 million American women are at risk of recurrent bladder infections because of the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. McKenna wrote […]

Bon Appétit Management Company CEO Fedele Bauccio is proud to be among the 70 leading chefs, authors, food policy experts, nutritionists, CEOs, and environment and health organizations that have today sent an open letter to Congress urging lawmakers to revise the draft of the 2012 Farm Bill — which should more properly called the Food Bill, as it is the largest and most significant piece of legislation affecting what, how, and even whether Americans eat.

What’s in our food? Most Americans think we have a right to know — and that means not just calories, salt, fat, and preservatives, but genetically engineered ingredients such as corn and soy. The Bon Appétit Management Company has joined forces with more than 450 consumer, healthcare, environmental and farming organizations, manufacturers, retailers for the Just Label It campaign, which is calling on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to label GE foods. Last week Just Label It released a new video, directed by Robbie Kenner of “Food, Inc.” and designed to persuade consumers to tell the FDA they agree.

Most people — regardless of how you feel personally about transgenic, or genetically engineered (GE), foods — would agree that we all have a right to make informed choices. Polls show that the majority of Americans (some surveys say up to 90%) believe foods containing GE ingredients should be labeled as such, and Bon Appétit agrees.

The “Future of Food” conference convened by the Washington Post at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, provided much… well, food for thought. However, the 30 speakers, who included Charles, Prince of Wales, and Bon Appétit CEO Fedele Bauccio, weren’t serving up snacky soundbites, but multi-course meals made up of whole, high-fiber ingredients.

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The conditions that farmworkers face in the everyday course of trying to do their jobs are grueling, often dangerous, and sometimes even abusive. It’s the age-old “if a tree falls in the forest” riddle: if these problems are invisible to most Americans, do they really exist? The answer is yes, of course they do. And I am proud to have worked on a 65-page report about farmworker employment issues that documents them.

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We recently gave a small donation to help the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) send 30 farmers and farm advocates to Capitol Hill. The group was being gathered to defend sustainable agriculture programs from drastic cuts as Congress worked toward a budget deal. Farmers met with multiple congressional leaders and leaders of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the press.

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Politics makes strange bedfellows and even stranger dinner plates. Amidst much controversy, the Farm Bill reached the Senate floor on Monday and created some unusual alliances. As the San Francisco Chronicle put it, “Seldom in Washington do such coalitions develop that unite the Bush White House and the group Environmental Defense on one side, and on the other, Senate Democrats and Republicans who have set aside their ideological hostilities to preserve and expand crop subsidies for a minority of wealthy farmers.” Michael Pollan’s op-ed in the New York Times, Weed It and Reap, does a great job explaining the state of the current bill and how “some nutritious crumbs” have been added “to ensure that reform-minded legislators will hold their noses and support it.” A little money for food stamps and “specialty crops” and we’re supposed to forget that the […]