The State of Food

Mark Bittman repeats his call for a national food policy, and says that the key issues confronting most Americans—”income, food (thereby, agriculture), health and climate change”—are all related:

“You can’t address climate change without fixing agriculture, you can’t fix health without improving diet, you can’t improve diet without addressing income, and so on. The production, marketing and consumption of food is key to nearly everything.”

Hatching a Law

California’s Proposition 2, an animal welfare law, went into effect on January 1. Mark Bittman says it could be a game-changer for factory farms:

“The regulations don’t affect only hens kept in California. In 2010, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that extended the protections of Prop 2 to out-of-state birds: You cannot sell an egg in California from a hen kept in extreme confinement anywhere. For an industry that has been able to do pretty much what it wants, this is a big deal: It bans some of the most egregious practices.”


The Hartman Group, a consulting company for the packaged foods industry, challenges Mark Bittman’s recent Time magazine article about home cooking:

“It is well established that the richer people are, the healthier they eat. Bittman appears to have forgotten what it’s like for everyone else–the world of consumers working longer hours and finding it harder to pay the bills.

“Half are women, who even in these more egalitarian times tend to be the home cooks–which raises questions about Bittman’s nostalgia for the home-cooking past. Yes, people ate healthier food, weighed less and had fewer diet-related diseases when they cooked from scratch. But many more households back then could afford for a woman to stay home and do the shopping and cooking.”