It’s hard to think of an administration that has done more to change what Americans eat and how we grow our food than the Obama administration.
In particular, first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign encouraged all Americans – especially our children – to make healthier food choices. Although we have a long way to go, evidence shows that American eating habits have gotten better since Mrs. Obama launched the initiative in 2010.
With just over three months left in the Obama administration, here’s EWG's take on the 10 biggest food and farm policy achievements of the last eight years:
- Reducing hunger. A growing economy combined with strong anti-hunger programs have led to significant drops in the number of hungry Americans, including kids.
- Making food safer. New rules will reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses in packaged foods and produce.
- Clearer food labels. New labeling rules for menus and packaged foods will give consumers more information about calories and added sugars.
- Banning trans fat. Banning trans fat from packaged foods will help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improving access to healthy food. New programs have helped expand access to healthier food.
- Healthier school food. New rules are driving junk food out of U.S. schools.
- Protecting drinking water. Regulations announced in 2015 will protect drinking water supplies from polluters.
- Farm subsidy reforms. New rules included in the 2014 farm bill will help ensure that more farmers who receive subsidies take steps to reduce farm pollution.
- Farmer and farmworker protections. Revisions to a regulation will ensure farmworkers have more information, training and equipment designed to protect them from pesticides. It will also make sure farmers are paid a fair price for their products.
- Reducing sodium. New voluntary sodium guidelines will drive more reformulation of foods.
There are plenty of leftovers for the next president: meaningful limits for use of antibiotics in livestock, farm pollution runoff into waterways, and food chemicals; new rules for GMO disclosures and reviews; and clearer definitions for misleading claims like “natural” and “healthy.” But by any measure, the next administration will have a tough act to follow.