Food and Agriculture

We need to fix our broken food system—and science can help us do it. UCS food experts highlight solutions to ensure that every American has access to healthy, green, fair, affordable food.


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Latest Food and Agriculture Posts

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New FDA Ruling Doesn’t Close Industry’s Favorite Food Safety Loophole

, science and policy analyst, Center for Science and Democracy

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for the public to be able to count on the FDA to ensure that all substances added to foods are proven safe. The FDA disappointed many interested in a safer food system earlier this month when it released its final ruling detailing its authority for the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) process. Read more >

Photo: tracyshaun
Flickr/Uwe Hermann
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Peak Oil, Peak Coal, Peak Deforestation, Peak Emissions…. and Why They’re Not Nearly Enough

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

Recent data related to our global emissions of heat-trapping gases suggest that humanity may have reached a turning point, or even several. We may be moving from increasing emissions, to peaking and starting to decline. We could be close to such peaks, or even have passed it, for several of the main sources of greenhouse gases, including coal and deforestation—perhaps even for humanity’s total emissions.

If so, this would be a momentous occasion, reversing centuries of growing global warming pollution. But before we start celebrating, we should realize that peaking is not nearly enough.

Read more >

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Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore
Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore

How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Usually, when you buy something, you pay for it just once. But if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying twice for the food system you’re “buying” with your hard-earned tax dollars. An example: today’s massive federal farm subsidies encourage farming practices that lead to toxic algae blooms, drinking water pollution, and other costly problems we have to pay for again downstream. By contrast, modest investment in just one proven alternative farming system would achieve annual savings—in the form of water pollution averted—of $850 million. Read more >

Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore
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Why the Loss of Grasslands Is a Troubling Trend for Agriculture, in 11 Maps and Graphs

, Kendall Science Fellow

Grasslands provide substantial climate benefits. Shouldn’t we be protecting them? The obvious answer is yes, but a few maps and graphs illustrate what is really happening. Read more >

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This National Farmers Market Week, Let’s Celebrate the Low-Hanging Fruit—and Then Reach Higher

, Fellow, Food & Environment Program

It’s rare to come across a policy that’s actually a win-win: something that does measurable good at the political or financial expense of virtually no one. These policies are truly low-hanging fruit, so obvious that we should feel embarrassed for not enacting them sooner.

One such policy is the recent decision in Los Angeles requiring that all farmers markets accept Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT—the debit card used to redeem food stamps (now called SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Read more >

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