USDA Not the Only Federal Agency Influencing Our Food System, New Paper Reports

For Immediate Release


Ben Lilliston , Communications Director
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USDA Not the Only Federal Agency Influencing Our Food System, New Paper Reports

Other government agencies could support a healthier, sustainable food system

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - While the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considered the most
influential federal agency when it comes to our food system, many other government agen-
cies combine to deeply affect what, and how, food is raised and consumed in the U.S., finds a
new paper published by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

“Beyond the USDA: How other government agencies can support a healthier, more sustainable food system,” by Maggie Gosselin, reports on federal agencies and their role in administering programs, grants and regulatory oversight that affect food. This agency-by-agency
review covers food safety regulations, community economic and housing development,
health education, food procurement, labor standards, trade negotiations and transportation infrastructure.

“There is a growing recognition that our food system isn’t working for farmers, public
health and the environment,” said IATP President Jim Harkness. “Federal policy has always
played a big role in influencing our food system. Reform efforts have appropriately zeroed in
on the U.S. Farm Bill and USDA. But we shouldn’t overlook the important role other federal
agencies have on the food system, whether it is to improve access to healthier food in under-served communities or procurement for school lunches. Getting all these agencies on the
same page is critical.”

Currently, there is no integrated approach among government departments and agencies to
address food-related issues. There is the potential of one government agency undermining
the work of another. The paper recommends that there be greater coordination among
federal agencies and, as a start, that the USDA, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convene an interdepartmental
task force on food policy.

You can read the full paper at:



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The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.

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