public health


Photo: US Air Force

USDA Focus on Nutrition Program “Integrity” is a Smokescreen

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

The US 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). The integrity of SNAP in particular has been a popular topic among those in the Trump administration, including USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, who argue that SNAP enables a “lifestyle of dependency” and seek major program reforms in the upcoming Farm Bill. But these arguments have been conjured from very little science and a whole lot of smoke—and have the effect of distracting the public from more pressing issues at hand.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0 (Flickr)

Pruitt Needs to Go—But So Do Others in Pruitt’s Conflicted and Corrupt EPA

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt seems to have a penchant for scandalous behavior, from misuse of public funds to special deals with corporate lobbyists. It was hard to keep up this week with Pruitt press.  Sometimes it is hard to remember that each of these inappropriate actions by the Administrator is connected to an action that undermines public health and safety protections, as described by my colleague Josh Goldman. Read more >

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Grasping for “Hopeful Signs,” Washington Post Downplays the Dangers of Trump Administration Attacks on Science and Public Health

, science and policy analyst, Center for Science and Democracy

The headline of a Washington Post editorial board piece caught me off guard last week. It read, “Trump’s record on science so far is a mixed bag.” I read on to try and understand the points made but found myself disappointed and confused by the message conveyed.

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Photo: Erik Scheel/CC0 BY SA, Pexels

Popular Nutrition Program for Farmers and Families at Risk in 2018 Farm Bill (Correction)

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

CORRECTION: In our original post, we inaccurately stated that the Trump administration’s budget zeroed out the FINI budget, as well as the HFFI budget. The president’s budget, not uncommonly, simply did not address those programs as they’re among those that would expire in 2018 without reauthorization.

Late this morning, the Trump administration released its proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. By and large, the proposed cuts to nutrition programs outlined in An American Budget are devastating, if unsurprising. Read more >

Photo: Erik Scheel/CC0 BY SA, Pexels
Photo: USDA
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Photo: USDA

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

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

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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