As consumers continue to grow curious about the origins of their food, there has been a shift to support famers markets and purchase food grown locally. To support this change, the US Department of Agriculture will supply $52 million to help the businesses of local farmers and fund research on organic cultivation. There are now 8,268 farmers markets in the country, which is a 78% increase from 2008. Considering this growth, we can also see that restaurants and super markets have started to integrate local foods into their sales. Backing local food operations is not only a good investment for reducing health care costs, but it also helps the economy through providing more employment opportunities. A list of farmers markets in your area can be seen by visiting the USDA website. What are your typical recommendations in terms of purchasing food to your patients?
The USDA’s new nutrition standards “Smart Snacks in School”, set limits for fat, salt and sugar in food and beverages sold in schools. Foods must contain at least 50% whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient or at least ¼ cup of fruit/vegetables. Beverages allowed include low calorie sport drinks, low-fat and fat-free milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juice, and no-calorie flavored waters. This is the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in more than 30 years and school and food and beverage companies must be in compliance by July 1, 2014. How do you feel about this new public policy? When do you expect to see its outcomes?
For more information, see the article on CNN.