The latest Legislative Scorecard calculated by Food Policy Action (FPA) gives 71 members of Congress perfect scores and 35 a score of zero when it comes to food issues. “The National Food Policy Scorecard is a tool that helps Americans see how our elected leaders vote on food and farm issues,” said Tom Colicchio, FPA co-founder. Senators were graded on how they voted on six bills and whether they supported another eight that never came to a vote. House members were graded on 18 votes and their support of an additional 12 proposed bills. The co-sponsorships were a new addition this year, favorably weighting voting scores. Much of the legislation FPA targeted related to hunger, food aid, labeling, farm subsidies and sustainable farming. The list also included the Senate’s Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act of 2013 (PARA) and the House’s Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2013 (PAMTA) and the Grayson Food Safety Inspection Amendment. Most of the 17 senators to receive a perfect score were Democrats, but the rank also included Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Angus King (I-ME). An additional 25 senators were scored above 70 percent. All 10 members with a score of zero were Republicans. In the House, all 54 perfect scores went to Democrats, as did the additional 126 to receive scores of about 70. The 25 members to receive a zero were all Republicans and included Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. The scores for some members of Congress Food Safety News regularly follows are:

  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM): 100
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT): 96
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME): 96
  • Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY): 92
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): 89
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): 88
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): 85
  • Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA): 80
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): 75
  • Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR): 57
  • Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS): 50
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI): 50
  • Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-7): 39
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): 17
  • Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK): 17
  • Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL): 0

FPA noted that, although 136 members’ scores have improved, 275 received lower scores than in 2012, including 82 Democrats and 193 Republicans. The organization hopes to turn these voting records into “a kitchen table issue” — information that consumers are more familiar with in their everyday lives. Last week, the organization released its polling data on how persuasive voters find four messages about food policy and extrapolated that food issues have the potential to be a deciding factor in how Americans vote in the midterm elections this November. FPA was established in 2012 and its chairman is Ken Cookpresident and co-founder of Environmental Working Group. Affiliations of FPA board members include Stonyfield Farm, the Humane Society of the United States, Oxfam America, Bread for the World, Food Democracy Now!, United Food and Commercial Workers, Live Real, “Let’s Move!”, the National Black Farmers Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.