March 25, 2016

Forced Labor and Worker Rights in Seafood Supply Chains

Dave Love

Dave Love

Assistant Scientist, Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

seafoodexpo2016-dloveI was first introduced to labor rights in the food industry after watching the documentary Food Chain$. The film, which was screened in Baltimore, exposes the plight of Immokalee tomato pickers, organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), and their goal of raising wages by a penny a pound for tomatoes picked in Florida. They were successful in convincing most retailers and wholesalers to meet their demands, and CIW received national attention when the Obama Administration issued them a Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons. These high-profile campaigns are raising awareness among consumers and challenging food companies to discuss labor rights. Read More >

March 23, 2016

CLF Aquaculture Links: March 2016

Dave Love

Dave Love

Assistant Scientist, Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

AQ-news-300An astounding 23 million farmed Atlantic salmon have died in Chile due to an algal bloom. About nine percent of salmon farms in southern Chile were affected, at a cost of about $800 million U.S. Chile is a major salmon exporter to the U.S. El Niño conditions have led to unusually warmer ocean waters that allow algae to multiply. Read more at Reuters.

In the past few months we have posted several stories about net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes. Recently, three Michigan state agencies have publicly stated opposition to net-pen farms in Lake Michigan because of environmental risks, and potential adverse effects on tourism and recreational fishing. Read more at the Detroit Free Press. Read More >

March 4, 2016

Limiting Antibiotics Misuse in Food Animals – Legislation We Need

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This blogpost is co-authored by Claire Fitch, Robert Martin, and Keeve Nachman.

RS47_E. Coli 104696230-scrAntibiotic resistance is a major public health crisis. Continued misuse of antibiotics will result in these lifesaving drugs no longer being effective in treating even the most routine infections.  Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide support for the need for immediate action to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. Each year, at least two million Americans develop these infections, and of those, 23,000 die from them. Antibiotic-resistant infections are more costly to treat, can require lengthier hospital stays, and are more likely to require invasive procedures like surgery. Read More >

March 3, 2016

The Black Box – An inside look at the Dietary Guidelines process

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Frank Hu, February 26, 2016 at CLF.

Frank Hu, February 26, 2016 at CLF.

Every five years USDA and HHS hammer out a revised set of recommendations for how Americans should eat. The process, resulting in the Dietary Guidelines, is supposed to be transparent, accessible and systematic. But there is a black box in the process, says Dr. Frank Hu.

Dr. Hu is a member of the most recent Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) and a professor on the faculty of both the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. On February 26, he offered some insight into the process at the invitation of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, addressing students, faculty and staff at the Bloomberg School. Read More >

February 26, 2016

CLF Aquaculture Links: February 2016

Dave Love

Dave Love

Assistant Scientist, Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

AQ-news-300Aquaculture and Fisheries Policy

This month NOAA released a draft proposal for new seafood traceability requirements for 13 species to stem imports of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fish. While the plan is a good first step, our colleague Beth Lowell of Oceana would like to see the plan go further by adding three components in the final rule: “1) it needs to apply to all seafood; 2) products need to be traced throughout the entire supply chain to final point of sale; and 3) if there is a phase-in implementation process, there must be a concrete timeline to expand the rule to all species and extend traceability from boat to plate in the final rule.” Read more: The Hill and Food Safety News.
Read More >

February 22, 2016

Ethical Procurement, It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Food service-4-01At the risk of dating myself, I’ll invoke the movie Chinatown, in which detective Jake Gittes uncovers a grand-scale conspiracy involving the control of water in Los Angeles, a city suffering with drought. The corruption is so thick that there’s no hope of cutting through it. The famous line? “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

If Roman Polanski were to make a movie about the grand-scale conspiracy controlling what foods are purchased for hospitals, schools, and prisons … well, he wouldn’t. But if he did, our detective would uncover the near-nefariousness of the forces controlling what students eat for lunch, for example, or what hospital cafeterias serve. The movie—and let’s just give it the working title Aramark, as in “Forget it, Jake. It’s Aramark”—would introduce us to the seamy world in which food service companies like Sodexo, Aramark, and Compass Group use a byzantine system Read More >

February 12, 2016

Structuring Your Food Policy Council

Anne Palmer

Anne Palmer

Program Director

Food Communities & Public Health Program

“How should we structure our council?” That’s a question frequently uttered by people working with food policy councils (FPCs) And, as with so many questions out there, there is not a clear and easy answer. Decisions like this depends on many factors such as the mission and goals for the group, who is involved, what resources are available, policy objectives and the culture of the group. Deciding the structure will be one of several decisions you make in the process of organizing. Your structure might also be influenced by your relationship with government. By clarifying the mission and goals for the council, you attract members to get involved. Having a clear structure helps members understand their role of the council in making decisions about food policy. Read More >

February 4, 2016

Favorite Foods: Reshaping the Resilience Conversation

Erin Biehl

Erin Biehl

Senior Program Coordinator

Food System Sustainability and Public Health Program

nypl.digitalcollections.chocolate-sugar-cigsIn a hotel outside Washington, D.C., just days before winter storm Jonas smothered the mid-Atlantic in snow, author Simran Sethi presented an idea that may have surprised her audience. She was speaking to scientists, government officials, and policy wonks—and her message was to ditch the data. Or rather, don’t only present data. Tell stories.

In particular, she challenged us to tell stories about the foods we love most, and how they might not be around much longer if we continue to eat, live, and legislate in unsustainable ways. Read More >

February 3, 2016

Trade Agreements Could Stymie Nutrition Labeling

Krycia Cowling

Krycia Cowling

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Health Minister of Ecuador Carina Vance, shows graphic labeling on nutritional content. Photo: Andes

Health Minister of Ecuador Carina Vance shows labeling on nutritional content. Photo: Andes

Last month, a Baltimore City councilman proposed legislation to require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages. This move by Councilman Nick Mosby follows similar proposals in California and New York and aligns with broader efforts to mandate more prominent nutrition labels on packaged foods and beverages. National laws of this type have passed recently in Chile, Indonesia, Peru, and Ecuador.

As a group, these are referred to as “front-of-package” labels and have been endorsed by the Institute of Medicine. Read More >

January 28, 2016

A Vision for Los Angeles: Urban Ag Paradise

Carren Jao

Carren Jao

Freelance Journalist

Los Angeles

Jardin del Rio Community Garden

Jardin del Rio Community Garden

Drive through the neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park, and Chinatown and one can see a glimpse of gritty Los Angeles. Industrial warehouses and low-income housing dot the roadways as the Los Angeles River, freeways and train tracks slice through the neighborhood. In countless movies, this landscape has always been depicted as a wasteland of concrete and grime, where things are more gray and brown.

But a new report produced by architecture firm Perkins + Will and the LA River Revitalization Corporation explores a tantalizing what-if—what if these river adjacent communities could be green instead of gray?

Simply called Urban Agricultural Plan (UAP), the report examines the possibility of turning the 660 acres of land stitched together by the Los Angeles River into an agricultural hub where food isn’t only cultivated, but also processed and distributed. Doing so would create local jobs Read More >