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Ruling Could Hinder Food Safety Reform

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn campaign finance restrictions on corporate and union election spending yesterday left health, food, and agriculture activists worried about future reform efforts in the context of an inevitable influx of corporate cash in the political process.

President Obama was not pleased either.

“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” Obama said in a statement yesterday. “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies, and other powerful interests that marshal their interests every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

Advocates working to reform the nation’s food system voiced similar concerns.

“Anyone who believes that we need to address climate change, our food system, our exposure to toxic chemicals and our energy policy to put this country on a sustainable path should be outraged by the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Tom Laskawy, a food and agriculture policy writer and media consultant, on Grist yesterday.

“This ruling will have profound affects not just on elections but on the very concept of reform in all areas of government,” said Laskawy, who added that the ruling “solidifies corporations’ position as the ultimate power in American politics.”

Marion Nestle, food policy guru and author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, was also extremely disappointed in the court’s decision.

“All I can do is weep,” said Nestle, in an email to Food Safety News. “What is happening to this country? The Supreme

Court thinks it’s really OK to sell our government to the highest

bidder?”

In an interview with Food Safety News in September, Nestle named reforming election campaign laws as one of the top five policy changes necessary for a safer food supply.

As Nestle sees it, if you reduce the corporate cash involved in food regulatory politics, “elected representatives can focus on public health rather than corporate health.”

© Food Safety News