It’s December already (how did that happen?!), and while roasted holiday duck may be first and foremost on everyone’s minds, let’s not forget another type of duck. Over the past several days, the Lame Duck Congress has been busy addressing some very important issues in the sustainable food world. A quick recap:
Food Safety Modernization Act: This historic overhaul of our nation’s clearly broken food safety system passed the Senate on November 30. The bill passed by a large margin of 73 to 25, with solid bipartisan support. The bill strengthens the oversight powers of the FDA, as well as the ability to recall tainted foods quickly. It also includes an amendment that exempts small farms who sell most of their products locally. To learn more, check out Civil Eats: Senate passes historic food safety bill. Now what? and the New York Times: Senate passes sweeping law on food safety.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) Act: The House is scheduled to vote on this bill today, December 1. The $4.5 billion bill seeks to increase funding for school lunch and also improve the nutritional standards. With over 17 million children experiencing food insecurity, this bill is seen as an important tool in alleviating child hunger. It has been somewhat controversial because the funding comes from cutting SNAP benefits (food stamps), but many sustainable-food organizations are supporting the bill while continuing to raise concern about the funding. UPDATE, 12/2: The House just passed the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill!
Black Farmers Legislation: Yesterday, November 30, the House gave final approval by a wide majority for a bill that will provide over $4.5 billion in discrimination claims brought forth by African American and Native American farmers. The bill compensates farmers who were denied or cheated out of assistance from the USDA.