Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Obamagardens

Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Obamagardens

Article excerpt

Though the economy, wars, sick-care coverage, and climate change take center stage, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have taken time to focus on food and health.

In the midst of the Salmonella outbreak due to contaminated peanuts, First Father Obama expressed concern about the peanut butter sandwiches that his daughter Sasha eats. "No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch," he said in a March radio address. "Protecting the safety of our food and drugs is one of the most fundamental responsibilities government has."

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The President is asking Congress for $1 billion in new funds to add inspectors and modernize labs. The fact that inspectors may visit food processing plants only once every five or ten years has got to change.

To make the Food and Drug Administration more effective, President Obama has turned to two nationally recognized public health leaders--Drs. Margaret Hamburg and Joshua Sharfstein--to be the commissioner and deputy commissioner, respectively. And he's forming a Food Safety Working Group to "upgrade our food safety laws for the 21st century." I hope the group considers splitting the FDA into two halves, so that food safety and nutrition receive the attention they deserve.

Changes have also come to the Department of Agriculture. Remember the Humane Society's videos of disabled cows being dragged from the floor to the slaughter line? No more. …

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