Making the Case for a National Food Strategy in the United States
72 Food & Drug L.J. 225 (2017)
37 Pages Posted: 24 May 2017
Date Written: 2017
Presently, in the United States there is a fair amount of speculation regarding the future of food and agricultural laws and policies, given the recent election of a new president. Based on campaign rhetoric and comments since the election, the next four-to-eight years could signal a dramatic shift in a variety of food policy areas, including specific provisions of the Farm Bill, incentives for local food systems and organic farmers, and conservation on farms. Additionally, the new Administration has been exceedingly vocal about immigration reform, which will have significant impacts on the food and farming sectors.
The concept of a national food strategy is not new. Other countries, facing similar food system challenges, have developed national food strategies to address these challenges in a holistic and integrated manner. These strategies represent an acknowledgement that, like the United States, many countries have an uncoordinated set of laws and policies that impact the food system. The creation of a national food strategy is both an effort to understand myriad laws and policies related to the food system, and a means by which to chart a path forward with a clear set of goals and priorities to guide future decision making. Although the United States does not have a national food strategy, it has developed national strategies in response to other issues of national concern, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria or HIV/AIDS, where a coordinated response was needed.
While the incoming Administration's food and agricultural policies remain uncertain, the creation of a national strategy can address many existing food system regulatory challenges. Such a strategy could be created in one of two ways. First, the incoming Administration can commit to a national food strategy that may comprehensively address, prioritize, and set goals related to many of the issues important to American voters, including public health, the economy, immigration, the environment, and trade. Alternatively, stakeholders can begin the process--as they have done internationally--to develop their own strategy to present to the next Administration. This Article argues that either of these outcomes is superior to the status quo, yet concludes a national food strategy in the United States will ultimately require governmental engagement to achieve the benefits of long-term, coordinated food system law and policy making.
Keywords: food, agriculture, national strategy, food law, farm bill, international law, environment, economic development, public health, food system, food security
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