Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Food Day Fuels National Appetite for Health

Monday marked the first annual Food Day, an occasion dedicated to celebrating healthy eating and local food.

The observance – launched by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and supported by more than 120 partner organizations – was intended to start a dialogue about a host of issues surrounding food, from making nutritious mealtime choices to combating hunger; from the benefits of eating locally grown products to improving the security of the food supply.

More than 30 governors and mayors proclaimed October 24 Food Day. The day was observed in one form or another in all 50 states by over 20,000 organized events.

And, like the food celebrated by the movement, festivities across the nation had their own local flavors.  In New York City, apples grown in-state were handed to commuters in Queens by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, spoke in Times Square about the local government’s expanded campaign to reduce consumption of sugary beverages.

The city also launched its new website, www.nyc.gov/nycfood, which provides guidance for New Yorkers on where to find healthy foods, how to prepare nutritious meals for the family and how tap into nutrition assistance programs.

The morning of Food Day, 50 celebrities from the food world gathered in Times Square to stage an “Eat In.” The group ate a balanced meal comprised mostly of sustainable ingredients from the farmers market.

A Food Day festival held in Savannah, Georgia was estimated to have around 1,500 attendees.

In Detroit, all public schools offered a special menu for Food Day, including local produce such as acorn squash and blueberries.

And the district intends to expand its offerings to include other Michigan-grown foods – such as potatoes, apples and asparagus – in the near future, a sign that the effects of food day will ripple beyond the spot designated for it on the calendar.

“Today is this national day to mobilize people, to get them involving themselves in changing policy,” said Morgan Spurlock, who brought the dangers of a fast-food-dominated diet into sharp relief with his documentary “Supersize Me.”

“Food education plays a big part in our health, so what I hope Food Day does is start to kinda turn the tide a little bit and make people understand this interaction that we have with our food can impact our health and the longevity of our lives.”

On the lifespan front, New York is ahead of the average for the nation. And some credit for that goes to the city’s recent campaigns to improve the healthfulness of its food offerings, said Mayor Bloomberg, who appeared on ABC’s new show “The Chew” Monday.

“In New York City, we’re very proud. Life expectancy keeps going up. Today it’s a year and a half longer than it used to be 10 years ago. It’s because of getting people to eat better, stop smoking, drive more carefully and make sure they have smoke detectors at home. All those things go into it.”

Bloomberg’s advice for healthy eating?

“You eat everything, but you’ve just gotta do it in moderation. That’s the key.”

The Mayor also stressed the importance of safe food handling, noting that New York City has started awarding a sanitation grade to all restaurants, from A through F, which must be posted at the front of the establishment.

“People tend to go to the ones with an A, so it’s a good incentive for the restaurants to make sure that their kitchens are clean and that they do everything by the book,” he explained. “They don’t have to do it but it hurts their business if they don’t. If you don’t get an A, you can clean it up and move up to an A, and most people have. It really has been very successful.”

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, emphasized the impact that Food Day could have on improving the overall health of Americans.

“Food Day is an important way to focus on the critical need to have well-funded public health agencies that work on preventing diet-related and other diseases,” he said in a statement Monday.

© Food Safety News
  • Food Day was nothing more than an attempt to mislead supporters of the local, healthy food movement as to the actual record and goals of CSPI, the APHA and similar members of the Make Our Food Safe (MOFS) coalition. If they truly support local food then why aren’t they open to pleas of those who grow the crops and pack, process and distribute local, healthy food? Why is their emphasis on government defined “safe” food rather than healthy food?
    The environmental movement has a great term to described this type of activity in its realm—greenwashing. The only description of what they are doing which I know is “dissembling”—the hiding of the truth under a false appearance!
    Over the last 3 years, CSPI probably has the worst record of misleading the American public, mainstream journalists and legislative staffs about the actual safety of food available in the USA, what the CSPI style of regulation (e.g., the FSMA) actually does and the impact the increased regulation will have on local and regional food systems and overall food safety.
    Backed by the money and bias of the Pew Charitable Trusts, CSPI has spewed out a plethora of numbers masquerading them as scientific studies. Unfortunately, because of the average American’s limited understanding of mathematics, statistics and how the scientific method actually works, huge numbers of people fell for the CSPI’s, Pew Trust’s and MOFS coalition’s dissembling.
    Please note that Food & Water Watch, an original member of the MOFS coalition and its ONLY member involved in agriculture, broke with the MOFS coalition over the Tester-Hagan Amendments and did NOT support CSPI’s Food Day.
    The real Food Day is World Food Day.
    Since 1981, it has been observed on October 16th each year and CSPI is listed as one of its sponsoring organizations on the World Food Day USA website (http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/CMS/2951.aspx?Char=c&SubType=). Ask CSPI how it has supported and celebrated World Food Day over the last 5 years. This year, CSPI’s “support” included creating a competing celebration only 8 days later. As you might conclude, with “supporters” like that World Food Day has been slipping into obscurity.
    I question whether CSPI is even capable of “celebrating healthy eating and local food” because it and the Pew Trust opposed throughout the legislative process of the FSMA any exemption from its HUGE ADDITIONAL REGULATION based on the size of the grower or food facility. By doing so they were able to obtain support for the FSMA by the giants of the industrial food system. Why did industrial food producers want this? Because they were already doing much of what would be required, knew they had the money and access to regulators to contain the huge amount of new rulemaking and, not coincidently, would relegate local, healthy food to a niche available only to the rich and those who garden.
    The FSMA was a huge gift to industrial ag, its processors, plaintiff’s attorneys and consultants and little or no benefit to the average American.
    As always, I will happily support every thing I have written if e-mailed at healthyfoodcoalition@gmail.com.

  • Food Day was nothing more than an attempt to mislead supporters of the local, healthy food movement as to the actual record and goals of CSPI, the APHA and similar members of the Make Our Food Safe (MOFS) coalition. If they truly support local food then why aren’t they open to pleas of those who grow the crops and pack, process and distribute local, healthy food? Why is their emphasis on government defined “safe” food rather than healthy food?
    The environmental movement has a great term to described this type of activity in its realm—greenwashing. The only description of what they are doing which I know is “dissembling”—the hiding of the truth under a false appearance!
    Over the last 3 years, CSPI probably has the worst record of misleading the American public, mainstream journalists and legislative staffs about the actual safety of food available in the USA, what the CSPI style of regulation (e.g., the FSMA) actually does and the impact the increased regulation will have on local and regional food systems and overall food safety.
    Backed by the money and bias of the Pew Charitable Trusts, CSPI has spewed out a plethora of numbers masquerading them as scientific studies. Unfortunately, because of the average American’s limited understanding of mathematics, statistics and how the scientific method actually works, huge numbers of people fell for the CSPI’s, Pew Trust’s and MOFS coalition’s dissembling.
    Please note that Food & Water Watch, an original member of the MOFS coalition and its ONLY member involved in agriculture, broke with the MOFS coalition over the Tester-Hagan Amendments and did NOT support CSPI’s Food Day.
    The real Food Day is World Food Day.
    Since 1981, it has been observed on October 16th each year and CSPI is listed as one of its sponsoring organizations on the World Food Day USA website (http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/CMS/2951.aspx?Char=c&SubType=). Ask CSPI how it has supported and celebrated World Food Day over the last 5 years. This year, CSPI’s “support” included creating a competing celebration only 8 days later. As you might conclude, with “supporters” like that World Food Day has been slipping into obscurity.
    I question whether CSPI is even capable of “celebrating healthy eating and local food” because it and the Pew Trust opposed throughout the legislative process of the FSMA any exemption from its HUGE ADDITIONAL REGULATION based on the size of the grower or food facility. By doing so they were able to obtain support for the FSMA by the giants of the industrial food system. Why did industrial food producers want this? Because they were already doing much of what would be required, knew they had the money and access to regulators to contain the huge amount of new rulemaking and, not coincidently, would relegate local, healthy food to a niche available only to the rich and those who garden.
    The FSMA was a huge gift to industrial ag, its processors, plaintiff’s attorneys and consultants and little or no benefit to the average American.
    As always, I will happily support every thing I have written if e-mailed at healthyfoodcoalition@gmail.com.

  • Michael Bulger

    The FSMA directed FDA to take the size of business into account and offer flexibility and exemptions for small food facilities long before the Tester Amendment was added.
    We should have Food Days every week. The more awareness that is raised the better chance we have for truly reforming our food system and eating habits.