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USDA Focus on Nutrition Program 'Integrity' Is a Smokescreen

By Sarah Reinhardt

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will hire a new "chief integrity officer" to oversee federal nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).

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The Real Organic Project: Disgusted With the USDA, Farmers Make Their Own Organic Label

By Dan Nosowitz

Worth billions of dollars, the organic label is the only federally regulated food label that conveys any information about how that food was produced. Certified organic is the fastest-growing food segment—and the distinction can be profitable for farmers (and also costly and difficult to implement)—but that doesn't mean everyone's happy with it. A series of scandals and a lack of faith in the current iteration of the USDA, which oversees the organic program, has led a group of pioneering organic farmers to create their own label: the Real Organic Project.

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USDA Proposes Significant Cuts in Pork Processing Regulation

By Dan Nosowitz

Food safety concerns have been ratcheting up lately: major outbreaks of salmonella, listeria and other food-borne bacteria seem to be on the rise. Given that, you might expect any changes in federal oversight to work toward fixing that. Not so fast!

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3 Reasons Why the Trump USDA’s School Nutrition Rollbacks Should Worry You—and What You Can Do About It

By Sarah Reinhardt

In May of 2017, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue moved to make school meals great again by issuing a proclamation in support of more lenient school nutrition standards. Specifically, the proposed rule permits the continued use of whole grain waivers, which exempt certain products from meeting whole grain standards; freezes current sodium limits through 2020, rather than moving forward with progressive sodium targets; and allows schools to serve low-fat flavored milk, which is currently disallowed due to its added sugar and fat content.

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Organic circle. Dan / Flickr

USDA Plans to Side With 'Fake Organic' Egg Producers, Ditch Animal Welfare Rule

By Katherine Paul and Alexis Baden-Mayer

If nutritional quality and animal welfare issues factor into your egg-buying decisions, get ready for more bad news out of the Trump administration's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA plans to ditch rules, finalized under the Obama administration, that would have required organic egg producers to provide hens with more space and more outdoor access.

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Hold the Plum Pudding: U.S. Food Sampling Shows Troubling Pesticide Residues

By Carey Gillam

Sometimes the truth about our food is not very appetizing.

As many gather this holiday season for shared family meals, it is likely that they'll be serving up small doses of pesticides with each plate passed, including a prevalent type shown to be harmful to children and reproductive health.

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USDA Gives in to Big 'Organic' Poultry, Moves to Withdraw New Animal Welfare Rules

Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) formally proposed withdrawing a set of rules finalized at the end of the Obama administration that establish stronger, more enforceable animal welfare requirements for certified organic producers.

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USDA Makes School Meals More Flexible, Translation: Less Nutritious

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its revised school meal rules, in words that would make George Orwell proud:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today [Nov. 29] provided local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation. The new School Meal Flexibility Rule ... reflects USDA's commitment, made in a May proclamation to work with program operators, school nutrition professionals, industry, and other stakeholders to develop forward-thinking strategies to ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical ... This action reflects a key initiative of USDA's Regulatory Reform Agenda, developed in response to the President's Executive Order to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.

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Only 9% of U.S. Adults Eat Enough Vegetables

By Dan Nosowitz

On the heels of our country's very own secular harvest festival, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new data indicating just how few people are actually regularly eating the fruits of the harvest.

The CDC regularly publishes data on the health of the country, and, appropriately for the season, last week's ominous-sounding Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes information on fruit and vegetable consumption.

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